New Zealand sees demand for SharePoint specialists

There is a dearth of skilled Share-Point staffers in New Zealand, says Tom Derbyshire, manager for IT recruiting at Robert Walters.

Commenting on the firm’s third-quarter market update, released late last month, Derbyshire says many organisations requiring SharePoint talent are training staff internally in the Microsoft collaboration technology, rather than hiring, as there are so few experienced SharePoint candidates on the market.

“It’s getting hard to find that talent,” Derbyshire says.

The SharePoint shortage is such that SharePoint is one of the skill-sets on the “shopping list” that the New Zealand company will be taking to a seminar this month in London, seeking to attract UK candidates to New Zealand, he says.

Candidates with experience of major project work in the financial services sector will also be sought-after at the London seminar, as they have skills that are in demand in New Zealand, he says.

“We’ll be looking for project managers and business analysts from the financial services sector.”

Already this year, several New Zealand financial services organisations have carried out major upgrades to legacy systems, Derbyshire says, and the Christchurch earthquakers have driven a number of new projects in the financial services and insurance sectors.

This is indicative of an industry-wide trend towards hiring IT staff with a business, rather than technical, focus, he says.

“It’s always good to have someone who can look at how a company operates from a process improvement and systems improvement perspective, taking a high-level view of how the organisation works.”

However, there is still demand for technical staff in certain areas, such as storage-area networking, .Net version 4. and systems engineers.

“Storage area networking has always been in demand,” says Derbyshire.

“Now that the recruitment market is getting tighter, candidates with vendor-specific storage expertise, such as HP or Fujitsu, are getting harder to attract.”

Security is another area where staff are in demand, which is being driven by the need to safeguard customer data, and to secure transactions conducted over consumer devices, he says.

“People are using those devices for internet banking, and there’s huge exposure if they haven’t got the right antivirus set-up.”

Security is increasingly being seen by organisations as an IT competency in its own right, whereas previously it was considered to be part of DR, he says.

This is reflected in growing numbers of pure security roles being seen.

“We’ve had a few head of security positions, people that will be responsible for security overall.”

In Auckland, where Derbyshire is based, “the contract market is up and down, but the permanent market is candidate-short.

“Compared with the past 18 months, the market is a lot busier than it has been.”

In Wellington, there is continued demand for project managers, business analysts and programme managers, says Robert Walters Wellington-based IT hiring manager Jonathan Hay.

“They’re in peak demand, mainly in the contracting space,” Hay says.

“But clients are being very specific about what they’re looking for.”

Three or four years ago, the request from clients was “I want a project manager”, he says, but now it’s “I want a project manager who has done a specific project.”

Today, there may be three stages of interviews, whereas in the 2007-08 boom there would only have been one.

“There are higher requirements.”

It’s a “tough market” today, but not as tough as in 2009, he says.

“It’s patchy, but for good candidates who deliver, there are opportunities.”

The Robert Walters Wellington market update quarter three commentay notes: “Highly skilled business analysts with enterprise-level consulting experience, enterprise architects and solutions architects with Oracle were most likely to receive premium pay rates throughout the quarter.”

Hay says the demand for Oracle skills is being driven by several “sizeable pieces of work” in the capital, including Housing New Zealand’s Enterprise Transformation Programme, and ongoing transformation and integration work at the Inland Revenue Department.

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