Big Challenges require Creative Solutions

New Zealand Is Looking for Tech Talent, and They Have an Enticing Offer

Editor Comment: Wellington, NZ has tackled the skills gap problem by first recognizing the significance of it to their tech economy and secondly by coming up with a very creative way to find the talent they need. It is a great example of what can be done when groups with common goals work together.

When we think of New Zealand, many of us think of its majestic beauty - a place to climb glaciers, kayak, hike, and enjoy nature. Admittedly, some of us (--> me) also think about running around with Gandalf and Frodo, but as they say -- to each his own.

What we don’t often think of New Zealand having is a major tech hub. But, they’re trying to change that perception.

Specifically, Wellington, NZ has kicked off an initiative to bring in new software developers, creative directors, product managers, analysts, and digital strategists from around the world to build the country’s growing tech scene. Wellington has been dubbed "Silicon Welly," and is home to 16,000 tech-related jobs at emerging companies.

So, how do they plan to get much needed tech talent? It’s really quite smart. They’ve created a recruitment program called LookSee Wellington (a partnership between Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA) and Workhere New Zealand) which is paying for a free trip to Wellington for 100 job applicants that prove their merit.

Anyone interested has until March 20 to submit their resume. They are then screened by Workhere New Zealand and participating employers, who will shortlist candidates for a place on the travel program. The chosen 100 will be flown to New Zealand May 8-11 for job interviews, and much more. Check it out:

“LookSee Wellington is about giving people who might be open to moving to this side of the world a chance to come and have a ‘look-see’ before deciding to relocate, and without having to pay to get here to inform their decision-making,” says Justin Lestor, mayor of Wellington.

According to Business Day, “just a week after going live, WREDA said the platform had already received more than 5,000 expressions of interest from tech professionals worldwide, including some who work for global giants, such as Google, Facebook and Amazon.” So yes - it’s working.

The takeaway

As a small city in a small country, Wellington NZ knew that it wasn’t the ultimate destination for tech professionals. To get people interested, they had to play on their strength - giving candidates the opportunity to spend a week in their beautiful country for free (with some job interviews thrown in). Once they are there, how could they not want to stay?

So, if you’re struggling to get the talent you need, make sure you are playing on your strengths. And, to get a better understanding of where the talent you need is currently located and what they are looking for (so you can entice them), check out our Talent Pool reports and this blog post detailing how you can use them.

Also, when possible, giving talent a little incentive to consider you doesn’t hurt. Though we like to think we’ll pursue great opportunities, even if they are nerve wracking or a hassle, the truth is we sometimes need some incentive. And, candidates are no different - they may see a job they are interested in, but the task of applying, interviewing, and the whole shebang is a turn off. Knowing this, New Zealand gave candidates the push they needed: an amazing free trip, in exchange for some interviews and considering New Zealand as a potential new home.

*Image from Wellington,NZ

#skillsgap #techskillsgap

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