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Why Auckland is tech’s best kept secret

Laurie Soderstrom from California will be heading to Auckland soon for Techweek'17.

About 8000 skilled software developers attended Developer Week 2017, the world’s largest developer expo and conference series in San Francisco. ATEED head of international partnerships and trade Pam Ford shares insights from promoting Auckland as an ideal place to live and work in the tech sector at the event. 

Being amid thousands of software developers and sharing the story of Auckland’s rapid growth, job opportunities, and enviable lifestyle made me proud to call Auckland home, yet reminded me that so many still see New Zealand as a country of sheep and hobbits.

Around 8000 skilled software developers attended Developer Week 2017, the world’s largest developer expo and conference series in San Francisco in February looking at opportunities to relocate to where their skills are in high demand, and Auckland is no exception.

To support Auckland’s advanced industries and businesses struggling to fill skilled vacancies, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) worked alongside Immigration New Zealand and tech companies Xero, Vista Group and Industry Connect to promote Auckland as tech’s best-kept secret.

Talent is a key driver for a strong economy and demand for tech talent in Auckland is high. We carried out research with 100 Auckland businesses within the region’s advanced industries, including the tech sector, and 75 percent of those surveyed reported difficulties filling vacancies, with six percent being unable to fill positions at all.

With Auckland home to almost half of New Zealand’s tech sector (47 percent), the region is a thriving culture of innovative and entrepreneurship, and it’s vital we share opportunities available with tech talent overseas. Those we came into contact with at Developer Week 2017 showed real enthusiasm for what we have to offer.

Feedback has been positive from both prospective migrants who have an interest in moving to Auckland - both graduates and experienced talent - and the businesses that attended. We had people five lines deep wanting to talk to us on the opening night ‘mixer’ event.

As well as promoting Auckland as a great place to work, live, study and do business, we promoted initiatives like GridAKL, the innovation precinct and Wynyard Quarter, the AR/VR Garage, a globally unique augmented and virtual reality development facility in Eden Terrace, as well as the fast approaching Techweek’17 (06-17 May) to give people a real sense of Auckland’s dynamic innovation ecosystem.

We’ll continue to follow up the leads we made through a LinkedIn group called ‘Smart Move Auckland’, which already has around 2000 members.

We also ran a competition on the ATEED expo stand targeting a prospective migrant to win two premium economy flights from San Francisco to Auckland (sponsored by Air New Zealand) to attend Techweek’17 in May.

The winner, Laurie Soderstrom from California, will be traveling to Auckland to soak up the local vibe, leading innovations at Techweek’17 and share our best-kept secret further afield.

But the story doesn’t end there.

We are working closely with Auckland businesses who attended Developer Week 2017 to help them fill vacancies and build their talent base so they can continue to grow, and so that Auckland can build its global reputation as being an emerging innovation hub on the world stage.