Spatial experts added to Immigration's skills shortage list
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An approach to immigration authorities to help ease a perceived shortage of NZ residents with digital geospatial knowledge has succeeded. The classification “other spatial scientist” has been added to Immigration New Zealand’s Long-Term Skills Shortage List (LTSSL).
This means an immigrant who has a “bachelor degree specialising in geography or computer science and a minimum of two years’ relevant post-qualification work experience in GIS applications” will find it easier to qualify for a work or residence visa.
“Migrants who gain employment in one of [the listed] occupations may be granted a work visa under the LTSSL Work to Residence or Essential Skills instructions,” says Immigration NZ documentation. “Migrants applying for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category may gain bonus points towards their application if they have an offer of employment, work experience or qualifications in an area of absolute skill shortage identified on the LTSSL.”
The initiative to improve the supply of geospatial specialists was organised by the NZ branch of the Spatial Industries Business Association (Siba) and Land Information NZ. They see it as remedying a skills shortage that would otherwise have got worse as interest in the use of geospatial information in business grows.
“Research commissioned through Victoria University into the capability of the spatial industry in New Zealand has confirmed a skills shortage in this area,” says New Zealand Geospatial Office principal analyst Geoff O’Malley.
“This is just one step towards addressing that. In the longer term we’ll work with schools to raise awareness of spatial sciences as a career option, and with universities to increase the tertiary level qualifications available in this area.
“This addition to the LTSSL reflects a collaborative effort between government, academia and industry, O’Malley says. “We all support the growth of the New Zealand spatial industry and, together, have put forward a strong and successful application.”
“This removes some of the barriers to improving the supply and demand position,” says Siba geospatial capability lead Scott Campbell, “but it will need to be promoted” so that aspiring immigrants know geospatial skills will be well received in New Zealand.
Not everyone agrees there is a problem; comments appended – unfortunately anonymously – to Computerworld’s story last year accused the industry association of trying to drive salaries down in the sector.
“If there's a shortage, then surely salaries should be going up as demand exceeds supply. But is it?” said one commenter. [The] solution seems to be to increase supply by getting in more immigrants instead of offering better salaries for existing staff to stop them from heading to Australia.”
Others criticised the industry for an inflexible attitude to employing promising locals. “Unless you've worked in the sector before they don't want to know you,” said one “Skills are transferable. People can learn the 5,10 or 20 percent of the job that relates specifically to your industry very quickly.”
“If you want a person with precisely the right tick boxes you won't find them,” another commented. “But having been in IT for 30 years, [I think] anyone who has an engineering, or math background can do this GIS stuff.
“It does require a different mindset of the HR department and some knowledge [on the part of] the development manager,” the latter commenter added.
Campbell says he was “surprised and dismayed” to see these comments. With increasing demand, he does not see any danger of a glut of geospatial experts on the market depressing pay rates, he says. Sectors such as retail, logistics, marketing and finance are seeing the advantage of adding a geospatial aspect to their ICT and even with the addition of new immigrants, this demand will barely be able to be satisfied.
Posted by riz lee at 18:19:12 on February 23, 2013
Posted by Tony Elson at 8:28:56 on February 14, 2013
Posted by pm4gis at 17:34:59 on February 14, 2013
We have had nothing but good support and service from Eagle Technology and most of them are from other countries as well.
Posted by Anonymous at 20:20:41 on February 13, 2013
Also, in reply to another post, you can't easily just cross-train an engineer or IT person. It takes at least 3 years to be able to "think" spatially enough to be able to totally understand what is happening.
Posted by Anonymous at 11:17:13 on February 15, 2013
Posted by Anonymous at 17:06:02 on February 18, 2013
I did my degree in Brazil, in the 4th year of the course I had to work 5 days @ 8 hours for one year, plus studying from 19:00-22:30hrs. It was hard, I could have done the work over 2 years as part time job in parallel with Uni. I got paid just about nothing for my job and had to pay for this course at uni, but when I finished my degree I had one year experience and the job that I managed to keep. If in NZ universities take this approach of having a relevant work experience for equivalent 1 year of full time work there would not be such a thing a unexperienced skilled people. Even if all you have to do is to write Software User Guide in the job, you will still learn something and most people are happy to employ people to do the boring tasks for closed to nothing. Or do you like updating diagrams and docs?
It is not up to government to give opportunity is up to the university to make sure the student gets the degree ready for market and the market in NZ requires experience, so be it.
I am not a DBA anymore, I am now Business Analyst, but it was so short on skilled people that I had to apply for over 200 jobs in order to get my work. I have a kiwi child, going back to Brazil wasn't a choice otherwise I would have done as there is more opportunity than here. There is no jobs around, or kiwis don't like my name, because my first interview I have got the job, but it took over 200 job application to get an interview.If there was shortage I would have got interview in each one.
Posted by Vivi at 16:07:18 on February 13, 2013
There is also a need for the skilled GIS Power User (map maker) who can take the GIS tools (typically using desktop tools) and produce insightful information and products (live or static). They also provide the content to the enterprise system (implemented + supproted by the GIS Admin staff). This provides key information to wider enterprise and external users.
So in short yes GIS Admin skills are needed (typically with IS/IT background) and Yes skilled GIS power users (map makers) are also needed.
Posted by Anonymous at 14:58:55 on February 13, 2013
Posted by MikeWasInGISButGotBored at 10:33:29 on February 13, 2013
Posted by Anonymous at 10:26:04 on February 18, 2013