Are Kiwi workers turning their backs on IT and telco companies?

New Zealand’s IT and telecommunication sector has experienced a drop in attractiveness, meaning companies must refocus their recruitment and attraction strategy to ensure that it is able to attract key talent.

While research from Randstand New Zealand reveals companies in this sector have experienced a 23% increase in name awareness over the past three years as Kiwis’ dependency on technology continues to grow, the need to attract top talent to the industry grows ever stronger.

The Randstad Award employer branding research, from HR and recruitment experts Randstad shows that name awareness of IT and telecommunications companies has increased from 45% to 68% between 2012 and 2014.

However overall attractiveness has decreased over the past three years from 32%, in 2012, to 28%, in 2014.

This means it is more important than ever for companies to ensure they have a strong employer brand and listen to market demands, says Randstad New Zealand Director Paul Robinson.

“Not only are companies in the IT sector competing against each other for the best talent,” Robinson adds.

“These employers must also be aware of what other industry sectors are doing to remain attractive to prospective employees, to remain ahead of the game.”

While the research showed Kiwis want to work for companies that care for the environment and society, just 22% of respondents believed firms within the IT and telecoms sector shared this value.

Long-term job security and a good work-life balance were two further attributes that New Zealanders want in an employer.

While the IT sector scored strongly here, within the top 50% of employers, when those figures are compared with other sectors that employ similarly skilled people, such as banking and financial services, the sector must make improvements to attract and retain key talent.

Banking and financial services scored highly when it came to showing concern for the environment and society, and very highly for long-term job security and a good work-life balance.

Robinson says employer branding is also key for attracting talented employees.

“When you want the best of the best, it’s important to ensure your company is perceived positively, and aligning it with what the market demands is an easy way to achieve this,” he adds.

“It’s also essential that these messages are communicated across a variety of platforms to ensure they reach as many people as possible so include them on job advertisements and descriptions, the company website, social media platforms and through all internal communication.

“It’s as easy as promoting the company’s CSR programme through background information and photos of the activity, holding work events and sharing the content, and referring to job security on employment platforms.

“It is however important that you only promote what you can deliver on.”

While attractiveness of the sector has dropped, it is important to note that it is still the sixth most attractive sector in New Zealand, and Vodafone placed ninth on a list of the top 20 most attractive companies, Robinson adds.

Young men are most attracted to jobs in this sector and it is the third most attractive sector for this gender – it is 18 to 29-year-olds who most want to work for Kiwi IT firms, with 30 to 39-year olds also showing strong interest.

The research also revealed that people with tertiary qualifications are most likely to be attracted to the industry and, interestingly, North Islanders are more interested in IT than their South Island counterparts.

So what do Kiwis want out of a job?

The results from the 2014 Randstad Awards show that a competitive salary and employee benefits remain the most important factor when it comes to choosing an employer across any sector in New Zealand.

In the last three years, the number of people who believe this criterion is crucial has risen, with 69% of employees now saying it is one of their top five most important criteria when choosing an employer, while only 54% thought so in 2012.

A good work-life balance is also important to Kiwis, with 39% of employees saying this is one of the top five criterions they look at when considering a potential employer.

However the study also revealed that poor communication with colleagues and a lack of support to meet deadlines were the two top factors hindering employees from having this balance in life.

Robinson believes that holding social events in the office can create a sense of community.

“It is important for colleagues to feel they have a support system at work and arranging social events for the team is a great way to do this,” he adds.

“It can be as simple as having a morning tea, or getting out of the office for a team lunch, as when colleagues feel a closer connection they are more willing to support each other in times of need.”

At the other end of the scale, while we are becoming a more tech-savvy society, the use of the latest technology is one of the least important aspects when choosing an employer, with just 8% of respondents placing it in their top five.

New Zealand employees also want their employers to be honest and reliable with 84% and 74% respectively saying this is the top personality trait they look for in an employer.

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