Different City, Different Career

Key Findings:

  1. IT professionals consider their sector to be vital if NZ is to remain an advanced country.
  2. People rank Auckland as a harder city in which to develop an IT career.
  3. Christchurch is home to more experienced IT professionals than Auckland.

The IT sector is considered by most respondents to be critical to the development of their respective cities. By and large, candidates from both Auckland and Christchurch felt that IT was “important”, could “bring economic opportunities”, and was vital for these industry hubs if NZ was to remain a “modern, advanced country”.

But how hard is it to start and build a career in these places?

We asked respondents to rank, on a scale of one to five, how easy it is to progress a career in their city. Both cities responded similarly – the majority of Christchurch IT professionals (45%) answered that it was moderately hard, with 40% of Auckland professionals answering the same. Interestingly, more people in Auckland answered ‘very hard’ than those in Canterbury – 16.13% compared to 14.75%. It’s possible that Auckland’s larger size creates increased competition, making the race for lower-level jobs more difficult.

This could be one reason that Christchurch appears to have more professionals with greater than six months’ experience behind them. In Auckland, only Software Developers, Managers and Business Analysts eclipsed the 20% mark when we asked people to note the roles with which they’d had more than six months’ experience. In Christchurch, there were 7% more experienced Software Developers, 13.46% more Managers and 6.14% more business analysts. In addition, Consultants, Help Desk/Support, Project Managers/Team Leaders, Software – Analyst Programmers, Systems Administrators and Testers/Quality Assurers all came in above 20%. In short, there are more people across more roles with greater experience in Canterbury than Auckland.



How Hot is the Christchurch IT Job Market?

Key Findings:

  1. Three-quarters of employers expect to hire for an IT role in the next six months.
  2. Most employers are hiring to tackle new projects.
  3. All employers agree it’s important to find a candidate who ‘fits’, as opposed to someone who simply meets the skills criteria.

In our prior report, we noted that 90.91% of Cantabrian employers had recruited one or more IT, staff members, in the past six months, which itself was a near-15% increase on the report prior. Now, in March 2020, that figure has weakened slightly to 84.61%. That said, to have such strong figures in March (when hiring activity typically picks up towards end of year) suggests there is a very high demand for IT professionals year-round. And candidates are available, too – respondents indicated that the majority of their roles were filled successfully, with 60% stating they had successfully filled three or more positions.

Looking forwards, we see that the demand will likely continue. 75% of employers expect to recruit for an IT role within the coming six months, a slight increase on last report’s 70.97%. For the most part, employers are looking for talent to help with new work/projects – an interesting development on our prior report, which saw new work/projects and replacing staff tied for first place. One hypothesis here is that the sheer demand for IT professionals has now driven companies to cling on to IT staff for longer while rolling out new projects, leading to new projects taking the lead.


Your Comments: How Can These Regions Better Support Start-ups and SMEs?


Your Comments: Who is Responsible for Implementing These Changes?




We noted in September of last year that there had been a slight drop in the number of businesses employing permanent IT workers, which we surmised was linked to the increase in new projects. This trend has continued into 2020 – the number of employers primarily recruiting permanent staff dropped from 90% to 83.33%, with a corresponding uptick in those looking for contractors.

Finally, all these new projects, the extra recruitment, the customer demand – do they impact recruitment procedures regarding finding someone who ‘fits’ the business, rather than someone who just meets its skills criteria? It would appear not: 91.67% of employers state that a candidate who fits the business is very important, followed by 8.33% who say it is important. No respondent answered ‘not important’ or ‘not a consideration’.





Men vs. Women – Engagement in the Industry

Key Findings:

  1. The majority of IT contractors, men and women, enjoy the flexible working hours of their role.
  2. Only half of Christchurch women feel fairly paid, and only a third of Auckland women.
  3. Both women and men seek work/life balance in a new role, though management support and professional development are highly appealing to women.


So, then, if women are less engaged by money, does that mean their salary is satisfactory? No. While 62.50% of Christchurch men feel their salary is fair[1] , only 48.28% of women agree. In Auckland, this figure is lower on both sides, but still favours men – 45.95% (men) and 33.33% (women). In both cities, a larger portion of women said their salary is lowerthan expected, with 6.68% more Christchurch women than men and 20.72% more Auckland women giving this answer.

We can determine from these results that although women feel less fairly paid, they aren’t as driven by money as men. So, what do they look for in a new IT role[1] ? Work/life balance was top of the list in both cities (82.76% Christchurch, 100% Auckland), followed by career opportunities (72.41%, 83.33%) and new challenges (65.52%, 50%). Men are also driven by work/life balance but need a challenge more so than new career opportunities.

Finally, how can businesses better engage their female staff? The aspects of company culture most important to women from both cities are flexible working hours, support from management and professional development.


Comparing Contractors and Permanent Staff

Key Findings:

  1. Following trends from previous reports, salary is more important to permanent IT workers than to contractors.
  2. Contractors are driven by flexibility rather than money – flexible hours and work/life balance in particular.
  3. Permanent workers also enjoy work/life balance but indicated that career opportunities and support from management are vital for their needs




Permanent & Contract IT Professionals

In the last report, we noted that salary was more important to permanent workers than contractors. This year, that trend remains true, but the gap has closed slightly. Previously, 7.04% more permanent staff than contractors said that salary was important to them, compared to this year’s 5.13% (Christchurch) and 1.29% (Auckland).

So, if not salary, what drives contractors? From our findings, we have drawn some comparisons between Christchurch and Auckland to identify what our respondents’ top priorities are in an IT role:

Christchurch contractors: Christchurch contractors have three priorities: First, a company must offer flexible hours, as it is what they appreciate most in a company’s culture and also what they most enjoy about their work. Second, they must be able to achieve optimal work/life balance, given it’s what they want most in a new role. Third, there must be support from management/team leaders – they desire this in equal measure to flexible hours

Auckland contractors: Auckland contractors have similar priorities to their Cantabrian counterparts. They enjoy their flexible working hours, and it’s also what they look for in a company’s culture. Auckland contractors also desire work/life balance. However, support from management isn’t nearly as important to them as those in Christchurch – flexibility is more key.

Christchurch permanent staff: Permanent full- and part-time Cantabrian IT professionals enjoy flexible hours and a variety of work equally. In a new job, they seek out work/life balance, followed by career opportunities. But converse to contractors, support from management is their top-most important aspect of a company’s culture.


Auckland permanent staff: Things look quite different for Aucklanders employed on a permanent basis. What they enjoy most is their access to good technology, and if they were to be offered a new IT role, it would have to include career opportunities and a challenge. However, flexible hours are still important from a company culture perspective.







Top 10 Most In-Demand Roles



Your Comments



This year’s Sourced Report has shone a light on the sheer demand created by New Zealand employers for IT professionals. Jobs are available, jobs are being filled successfully, and contractors are growing increasingly popular for support on new projects.

Like last year, this report revealed some fascinating insights into contractors and, in this year’s case, gender differences, that defy conventional assumption. As we recommended last time, leaders should always remember to take care not to fall into common traps regarding assumption so that they can fully cater to the needs and wants of their employees.

Thank you again to everybody who participated in the survey and contributed to 2020’s first Sourced Report. As always, we’ve been able to investigate a number of interesting trends and developments affecting the Christchurch and Auckland IT sectors. We look forward to seeing what the end of the year has in store and revisiting the survey later in the year.

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