At the start of Q2 2016, employment confidence fell to below the five year average as people voiced concerns over job security. This may have been exacerbated by the anticipated fallout following the decision by the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Economic Community. However, the fall in confidence may also be due to an influx of skilled migrants, a trend which doesn’t appear to be slowing. Newly arrived migrants tend to be salary competitive when seeking their first role in New Zealand.
In contrast to the above, employers expected to increase permanent staff levels in the coming year – in line with an anticipated increase in business activity. At the same time it was announced that unemployment dropped by some 12,000 in the first quarter of the year which seemed to back up this confidence. Then the NZ Institute of Economic Research added weight to the optimism by publishing a report indicating that 22% of NZ businesses experienced increased demand over the previous quarter with 19% expecting that trend to improve further.
In summary and looking ahead, at the end of the third quarter of 2016 indicators suggested an anticipated increase in contract roles over the coming year matched by a fairly significant anticipated increase in permanent roles coming available.
Fortunately the skilled employee voids are being filled by record numbers of skilled migrants. This is especially the case in IT, since fewer graduates are pursuing careers in the engineering disciplines within New Zealand.
As far as the future trends in the IT market, recently we’ve been asked to provide data mining analysts by our clients to optimise search engines. Machine learning is a method of data analysis which uses algorithms that learn from the data and allow computers to find hidden insights without being explicitly programmed on where to look.
While many machine learning algorithms have been around for a long time, the ability to automatically apply complex mathematical calculations to big data, over and over again and at higher and higher speeds, is a recent development. Here are a few widely publicised examples of machine learning applications you may be familiar with:
- Self-driving cars
- Online recommendation offers such as those from retail organisations the likes of Amazon, online job boards and global charities to name a few
- Garnering an understanding of what customers are saying about you via social media
- Fraud detection
It will be very interesting to see how development companies embrace this exciting technology.