The long-awaited Trans-Tasman travel bubble opened last month, finally allowing friends and family to reunite across the ditch.

At the beginning of the pandemic we saw waves of NZ expats returning home, bringing back their experience and expertise gained in their careers overseas. This brought back a welcome uplift in the NZ tech talent pool.

The question I'm thinking about now is what our talented tech people are going to do now that borders are opening up. Right now, we are seeing a hot market for IT experts, especially for contractors. Some contractors are fielding 3+ offers as their current contracts finish up.

While some of our returning citizens will have settled down and are now here to stay, the allure of potentially higher rates in Australia may see our tech talent pool being drained by our friends across the ditch. (And, some may be ready to escape an NZ winter!)

While NZ has been experiencing a shortage of IT talent for years, Australia is also facing the same problem. HRD confirmed this trend recently, saying that

"With Australia in the grip of a skills shortage, the opening of the bubble comes at a critical time. The dramatic drop in migration numbers has left some businesses struggling to find the talent needed to expand, especially for roles in cybersecurity and tech development."

However, we have seen the rise of remote work over the past 18 months. Forced upon organisations globally through COVID, we have seen a paradigm-shift in the way we think about work and how it should be done.

Even after our economies have opened up and we are able to return to the office, some of the world's most successful technology companies such as GoogleTwitter, and Facebook are allowing their staff to permanently work remotely, which sets a precedent for everyone else - 'if these companies can do it, why can't we?'.

Some of this is likely due to the savings on office space. Plus - many people want to be in the office meeting face-to-face again. Even the Zoom founder has Zoom fatigue!

Could this open up enough opportunities for NZ IT professionals to work remotely for large overseas tech giants, while enjoying all the benefits of NZ? We will have to wait and see.

We have consistently seen a net migration loss of Kiwis moving to Australia over the past two decades. While we saw an uptick in arrivals to NZ through COVID, the trend will likely return to the mean and we will one again see more Kiwis crossing the ditch to reside in Australia.

What can we do to keep more of these IT professionals here in NZ? With a tech sector that is continuing to grow, we may see more opportunities and higher salaries / rates making NZ an ever more attractive option to live, work, and play in.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on what you see happening in the IT recruitment market post-COVID and in an opening world. Do you have plans to cross the ditch, or venture even further after borders open globally?

If you want to have a chat about your IT recruitment needs, or open opportunities in the NZ market, feel free to connect and send me a message on LinkedIn, or on email at