The tech industry in New Zealand is booming at a rate too fast for them to keep up. There are now around 900 startup businesses in Wellington, a national hub for the field, and at such a rapidly growing rate, companies are beginning to look to the United States and elsewhere to lure skilled tech workers like engineers and data scientists to join their workforce.
The Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency, an organization that aims to grow business in the Wellington area, is focusing its efforts on recruiting such talent. The area, dubbed "Silicon Welly," is reportedly home to 16,000 tech-related jobs at emerging companies like cinematic effects company Weta Workshop, digital agency Resn, augmented reality company Magic Leap, and more.
To staff 100 of these jobs, WREDA is appealing internationally. As part of a new "talent attraction" program initiative called LookSee Wellington, interested (qualified) Americans can join the pool of global applicants interested in relocating.
"As with most countries in the world we have a shortage of tech talent," says Chris Whelan, Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency Chief Executive. "We're looking globally to make sure we get the best talent we can. Companies [here] have a massive appetite for U.S. talent — the level of expertise and the talent that we value is coming out of the U.S."
After applicants send in their information, the involved Wellington-area tech companies will nominate 100 of the best candidates to fly to New Zealand (on their dime) to participate in interviews with a slew of organizations. If all goes well, an accepted offer will result in a work visa valid for 30 months. (For those landing senior gigs, relocation costs may also be taken care of.) Then, after 24 months, the new locals will be able to apply for country residency — if they're absolutely loving their new digs.
There are certainly some perks to the move for burned out Americans; one of the hallmarks of life in New Zealand, as Whelan says, is the work-life balance.
"I'm a Wellingtonian by choice...To be self-referencing, at six o'clock last night, I was in the middle of the Bush hiking up a mountain," Whelan adds." If you want to go mountain biking or paddleboarding or any host of lifestyle things you can do, it's on your doorstep. When you've lived in London or Shanghai or San Francisco, it matters to have an excellent balance of lifestyle and high-end business opportunities. Those things are very important to Wellingtonians."
For more information on the program, visit LookSee's website.