The power of the internet to enable borderless careers is causing the world’s best and brightest tech experts to think differently about where they work. This is a boon for New Zealand, writes Rod Drury

This is our moment. New Zealand is on the international stage showing that world-class Kiwis can compete by out-thinking and out-engineering our competitors without relying on big budgets.

From engineering twin hull racing yachts to win the coveted America’s Cup, to building and launching rockets, New Zealand is pushing the boundaries of technological advancement.

The country is in great shape to use the new connected world to build and scale businesses from the South Pacific. With ultra-fast broadband in the regions and a global environment where businesses have access to the world via the internet, there is a fantastic opportunity to do world-class work and live a great lifestyle in New Zealand.

The technology landscape has changed to our nation’s advantage. At Xero we’ve seen an increase in people making the leap to relocate to New Zealand. As one of our recent people hired into the company from Austin, Texas said, “If you are a computer scientist or a developer you can live wherever you choose”.

While many engineers and scientists started their careers in the US, the power of the internet to enable borderless careers is causing the world’s best and brightest tech experts to think differently about where they work. This is a boon for New Zealand. We should be making the most of it.

One of the biggest risks facing the success of the local technology industry is a lack of experienced people who have operated at a global scale in the areas of software development, product management and marketing. If companies can find skilled, local professionals, they’ll generally hire them. If we could have, we’d have hired 50 this month. And another 50 next month.

If we’re going to create jobs for our kids, we need to build next-generation companies at scale. This is fundamental to the success of New Zealand’s future economy. By attracting more great talent to work alongside the world-class developer talent we have today, we’ll spur a global community of talented developers who can have world-class careers while enjoying the benefits of living in New Zealand.

At Xero, we are committed to fostering the skills of our local people. We have programmes teaching our kids to code and internships and graduate programmes that attract hundreds of students.

We are retraining and upskilling Kiwis, though we can always do more. We even have a coder who was formerly a truck driver – and we’re working with universities to help modernise curriculums to keep up with the rapid changes happening in the tech sector. 

But with more than 1700 employees – nearly 1000 of them in New Zealand – and customers in more than 180 countries, like many others our business success is built on being a global platform.

Xero is fast becoming one of the largest and fastest-growing technology companies in Australasia. In order for us to maintain our success, we need to continue to fuel the workforce with graduates while attracting the best product and developer talent from around the world, including New Zealanders themselves.

Supportive tech communities are thriving around the world in places like Wellington, Auckland, Sydney and Vancouver where global companies like Xero and Rocket Lab, Atlassian and Hootsuite are using the power of the combination of livability and global scale and connections, to create balanced lifestyle options for the world’s best tech talent.

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