Summary of MBIE Sector Report: Information and Communications Technology

While not directly related to resarch, MBIE has delivered a significant report into New Zealand's ICT sector. I have had a read of the report from the perspective of someone in the research sector and have jotted down some things that stand out.

  • Firms are struggling to find staff with ICT skills. While the report focuses on pre-university and undergraduate level training, I wonder if Software Carepentry can help with a similiar problem in the research field. 20% of firms find it severeely difficult to recruit effective managers (p 48) and 18% find it severely difficult to recruit technical staff (p 49).
  • Within the action plan to increase access to capital, crowd and peer funding is specifically mentioned (pp 23). This ties in well with an increase in citizen-funded science, pioneered in New Zealand by Siouxsie Wiles's bacterial work, which has inspired others.
  • Research heavy companies are being noticed by government. Pingar, which (I believe) has been developed from research work originally at Waikato University (p 34), Biomatters (p38) and others are noted as fine examples by the report.
  • Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch dominate the share of ICT jobs. The three cities house over 85% of ICT employment opportunities, with Auckland taking up 51% of them itself (p 45).
  • Perhaps sadly for the public research sector, CRIs, universities and polytechnics are generally not a source of ideas for new products of features (p 53). Most ideas come from staff and customers.
  • There is a huge tail in the software export market, with the "Other" categeory taking second place for dollar value of exports (p 64).

The report will be interesting to anyone who wants to have a greater understanding of the makeup of the ICT sector. It is highly accessible and is written in a very plain English style.

Submitted by Tim McNamara on