4 May 2015 · Absolute IT IT News

With its unique location, close to ski fields and surf beaches, Christchurch offers more than other New Zealand cities in the way of lifestyle, short commutes and top notch work-life balance.

The region’s resilience in the aftermath of the devastating 2011 earthquake has spawned innovation and entrepreneurship; and a lot of that energy has been funnelled into IT and technology development.

As the city and wider Canterbury rebuilds, unique opportunities are cropping up across the IT sector. One challenge this brings for Canterbury’s IT landscape in 2015 is accessing suitably qualified tech staff; with 78% of employers noting it as the top business challenge for the region in the latest Absolute IT employer survey. And unsurprisingly, the biggest internal challenge for IT employers is holding onto the talent they already have and creating the all important positive workplace environment.

For IT professionals based outside of Canterbury, either in New Zealand or further aboard, here’s why we think you should consider this region for your next career move.

A Hub of Tech Innovation

Christchurch is home to some of New Zealand’s coolest little startups, and this pocket of IT innovators is only going to grow.

“If you want to be part of a tech scene that is going places, and is relatively free of traditional red tape (so potentially your ideas can be heard and could be put into action quickly) and has huge potential for serious career ladder climbing, Canterbury could be the place for you”, says Absolute IT Director Grant Burley.

The Christchurch Central Development Unit are working hard to give Christchurch a new life in the wake of the disaster, facilitating various precincts and projects that will give Christchurch a unique flavour.

Christchurch’s Innovation Precinct is not unlike Auckland’s GridAKL, carving a space for tech industry leaders and entrepreneurial enterprises to sit alongside each other in an innovation hub. The Innovation Precinct is home to multiple buildings, and is about to become home to tech giant Vodafone and Kathmandu headquarters.

The EPIC building is another exciting tech environment in Christchurch that came to be early in the recovery phases of post-earthquake Canterbury. Thanks to sponsors like Google, Weta Workshop, BNZ and 2Degrees, EPIC fosters collaborative IT business efforts and boasts a campus designed by Google.

EPIC Centre

EPIC Centre Grounds

EPIC is home to 20 ICT and high-tech focused companies, from software developers, to social media experts and the Government’s idea incubator, Callaghan Innovation.The Centre’s focused on fostering collaboration by housing these like minded tech companies in the same place. If there’s anything that Cantabrians learned from the Quake, it’s that working together gets things done faster and smarter.

The Culture of Canterbury IT Jobs

If all the tech sector projects, innovation and growth above is getting you excited, but you have a family, or you’re a keen outdoor adventurer or sports person, and want to juggle these around your dream job – we have more good news!

42% of tech professionals in Canterbury believe their work-life balance is above average, the highest in New Zealand (and possibly the world!) and a further 50% state average, this illustrates the unique working environment Christchurch city and the wider Canterbury region could offer you.

canterbury work life balance

New Zealand tech employers are also becoming renowned for offering some pretty cool workplace environments and placing a huge amount on energy into creating a positive and fun workplace culture – and Christchurch is no exception.

Burley says that Canterbury IT employers are placing an increasing focus on giving their staff the workplace flexibility they’ve been asking for, “we’re seeing employers give their staff the flexibility to complete their work between anywhere between the hours of 7am – 7pm. It gives them the flexibility to work around school pick-ups and drop-offs and when they’re most productive, rather than being tied to their desk from 8:30-5pm so they’re ‘seen’ to be working hard”.

Sound like you? Are your skills in demand?

If you have some experience in the tech environment, then yes! Even if you’re straight out of training, there are support roles calling your name. Top of the wish list however are software developers, business analysts, project managers and management.

Top skills in demand Canterbury

As you’ve likely spotted in the infographic, median base salaries in Canterbury are a tiny bit lower than national averages, but the good news is local tech employers are amping up their pay packages with added extras like health insurance, additional leave, mobile phone allowances and paid training. Our latest Remuneration Report shows that 72% of tech professionals in the region are receiving added extras, up a whooping 14% since June 2014.

canterbury tech sector

Work and Play – why we love Canterbury

Christchurch and wider Canterbury is full of things to do in the great outdoors, and is just a short drive from some of New Zealand’s most iconic destinations,

Surfing

Being a coastal city, you’re never far from the surf when you live in Christchurch. With great surf beaches like Brighton and Sumner a short drive from the CBD, and 7 surf life saving clubs you’ll never be short of surfing opportunities.

Skiing and Snowboarding

You’re only ever a couple hours’ drive from some of the country’s best ski fields when living in Canterbury. The Canterbury Plains and the Southern Alps encircle Christchurch and provide a number of ski fields, private and public, suitable for families and beginners to the more advanced mountain athlete. Porters Ski Area is the closest to the city, but if you’re feeling more adventurous it’s an extra couple of hours to the iconic Queenstown or Wanaka.

Hiking and Tramping

There are plenty of iconic spots in Canterbury worth exploring over a day hike or overnight trip. The gentler walk to Godley Head is a must do, as are the more adventurous Aoraki/Mt Cook walks.

Global Leaders in IT Business

Many global leaders in IT business call Christchurch Home, here are just a few:

Think Christchurch for new IT job opportunities

If you’re wanting a change, or perhaps an avid skier looking for a better work-life balance, then it’s worth considering Canterbury for your next IT job. With plenty of new tech startups on the scene the need for IT workers in Christchurch and wider Canterbury is growing.

Get in touch with Absolute IT today to see how we could make a job on the mainland your reality.

Further Reading