The Data Revolution Sweeping New Zealand


In retrospect, it seems obvious: rather than guessing what your customers want or where your business should focus its resources, use data to make informed decisions based on current and previous trends.

But the use of data in NZ businesses is still only relatively new. Rachael Tobeck, Dev & Data Practice Lead for Crew in Christchurch, has seen this change and growth first-hand: “It’s only really been the last five years we’ve seen companies go from reluctant-to-invest to eagerly recruiting a data team as they’ve seen the benefits that data management can offer.”

Businesses are using data management to:

  • Make smarter decisions
  • Minimise risk
  • Inform processes and policy
  • Increase efficiency and effectiveness

With all this on offer, it’s clear why data management is a booming niche within the tech industry. Here are some insights into the trends in this space and what it means for both companies and candidates.

The evolution of data management roles

From small beginnings, data teams have evolved to be composed of a myriad of traditional and brand-new roles such as analytics managers, data analysts, data engineers, database administrators, machine learning engineers, data scientists, data architects, business intelligence analysts and so many more.

This is also a niche that has grown at pace alongside the technology they use, including AI/machine learning, which enables more efficient processing and analysis of data that would have previously been incredibly time-consuming. With a combination of new technologies and human skills, data has become more accessible than ever before.

“It’s unbelievable how much this space has grown as everyone has seen the benefits of investing in data, now they all want to jump on the bandwagon! I’m certain that as the technology continues to evolve, so too will the data roles we see. It’s a constantly moving and growing field that’s exciting to be a part of,” says Rachael.

While in the past data-centric roles were primarily only sought after by government departments, now small, medium, and large businesses alike are creating their own teams to harvest, manage, and utilise data to serve their goals.

Candidates: the doors are opening country-wide

The best part of this growing niche is that it isn’t only restricted to Auckland and Wellington anymore. With businesses of all sizes and types investing in data, you can live the South Island lifestyle and work in a well-paid, rewarding role.

The primary requirement for anyone looking to move into this field is a love for numbers. A sound understanding of mathematics enables you to understand the data, see it from an analytical perspective, and draw conclusions.

Rachael explains: “We’ve had people from all walks of life move into data. As long as you have a grounding in maths and numeracy, you can shape your existing career toward data management. Alternatively, Lincoln University and University of Canterbury both offer strong grad programmes in data science.”

People without that numerical or analytical mindset can struggle in data management – although technology can do much of the background work for you these days, a well-trained human is still required to make sense of the data within the context of the business.

We like to meet candidates face to face where possible to delve into their technical expertise, key achievements and future goals. From there, we’ll have a good idea of what companies could suit them well or what other training might be required. If you’re thinking of moving into this field, Crew can help to set you on the right track.

Managers: make your next hire an informed choice

Data isn’t restricted to just the tech industry, it touches every sector in NZ. We’ve placed data roles in healthcare, agriculture, consultancies, and government – sometimes new roles that haven’t existed before, sometimes traditional or established positions. It all depends on what your business needs, and what stage you’re at in your data journey.

We partner with our clients to understand their business and culture, what projects they’re working on in the data space, and who would be the right fit for their team in terms of experience, skill, and culture.

Aside from placing awesome candidates, something our clients appreciate the most is the depth of our market knowledge. It’s hard for busy business owners to be networking and keeping up with all that’s happening in their industry – we know how easy it is to get stuck with your head down working in your own little silo – so that’s where we come in. We’re the super-connectors of the tech industry, bringing you news and advice to help you make the right decisions and understand where you sit within the context of your space.

When you’re ready to take advantage of all that data has to offer, give our local Dunedin or Christchurch teams a call.

Get in contact with our Crew today!