Careers 2013: What are large ICT employers looking for?

Sim Ahmed and Sarah Putt

To gain an insight into what large ICT employers are looking for, Computerworld asked the HR managers at Orion Health and Gen-i about their hiring strategies for 2013.

Focus on R&D

The country's largest software exporter, Orion Health, says it is on track to earn $1 billion in revenue by 2020. Last year the Auckland-based company reported earnings of almost $100 million.

Orion Health's growth depends on its ability to secure staff in New Zealand and overseas. It has moved to a new premises on Auckland's Khyber Pass, housing around 330 of Orion Healths 700 global workforce and, in a sign the company is looking forward to substantial growth, the new office is designed to house 1000 staff.

Orion Health hired 150 new staff last year, and CEO Ian McRae says the company needs more than 100 next year across its 18 offices worldwide.

Human resources manager Jonathan Pulman says around 150 positions are being recruited for globally - with half of those positions based in New Zealand.

Pulman says the company employs 280 developers, 250 in its product implementation and support group, and the rest a mixture of business, corporate, sales and marketing.

There will be a major focus in 2013 on research and development, which Pulman says will require even more development staff.

Orion Health is mostly a Java development shop, but an acquisition of Microsoft's health information system Amalga HIS means the company needs .NET developers.

"We want developers with a strong base in Java and web development skills. People who have worked at development houses before, who understand how it works, will be strong contenders," says Pulman.

Development is only half the battle, Orion Health also caters for deployments of systems within health care organisations. Pulman says the professional services group will also be expanded to include implementation specialists and entry level positions for application support staff.

Pulman says Orion Health is facing the same skills shortages as the rest of the industry.

"We've been working with schools and universities to strengthen the pipelines that bring graduates to us," says Pulman.

Orion Health is piloting its Code Club in Christchurch's eastern suburbs to teach children the basics of programming.

Still hiring

Despite speculation in the market that Gen-i, along with its parent Telecom, is likely to downsize this year, the company is actively looking for people with technology skills.

When asked whether media reports questioning the 2500 headcount (out of around 7000 Telecom employees) were affecting recruitment Telecom head of human resources Wendy Hammonds said it hadn't impacted on their ability to hire.

"There has been a little bit of restructuring, we do it from time to time. It's pretty much business as usual," she says. "It's a fairly rapidly changing industry. So we are constantly reviewing the way that our business operates to enable growth and to meet the current and future needs of our clients."

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