I watched ASB business this morning. Paul Brislen from ComputerWorld was on talking about a shortage in the "ICT" industry (whatever that is). He made one pertinent comment. Because there is a worldwide shortage of IT workers it is almost impossible for New Zealand to compete against the US and the UK. I mean anyone with half a brain could contract in the UK for 300 quid a day and pay rates in the US are way more than here. Forgetting Visa issues of course!
Ok, the counter argument is the quality of living in NZ vs those other countries. I can't comment on that - I've only lived in NZ and Australia.
The major problem I see with NZ is that most "IT" jobs are in Auckland and Wellington. Traffic, housing and other issues in Auckland are so bad then you might as well live in Sydney or Melbourne and get paid significantly more. Whereas Wellington is probably ok, but who would want to put up with the wind all the time - not just from the politicians either.
So the answer? Well two possible solutions. Solution 1 is not realistic, but it would be to move IT operations to the provinces or places like ChCh or Dunedin where the cost of living is a bit lower.
Solution 2 is to pay a DECENT FRICKING WAGE. Obviously we can't compete with London or New York as far as pay rates go, but if a Senior programmer in NZ could earn say $100-$150k then I would think it would be a lot more enticing to stay. Better than the relative pittance most get at the moment - $65-85k.
A lot of companies might say they can't afford those sort of salaries, but my argument is, can you afford not too?