The writer came across an interesting article published by Forbes magazine, recently posted on social media. The article describes the attractive features about New Zealand and the efforts that are being made to recruit IT skilled candidates from the United States to places such as Wellington in particular.
Wellington, becoming known as “Silicon Welly”, has launched an initiative called “LookSee Wellington”, the goal of which is to recruit “100 talented technology candidates from across the globe, with a focus on the United States… the program arranges meetings with prospective employers who have roles that match a candidate’s skills, and flight and accommodations are covered”.
The article describes that “whether you work in the tech industry or not, Wellington is a great place to live. Diversity is celebrated, gay marriage is legal and the first female leader was elected more than 20 years ago. If you hold a work visa valid for two years or more, public healthcare is free or low cost. The city also has more restaurants, cafes and bars per capita than New York City. And New Zealand has been called an “incubation nation”, a place where innovation thrives and where people can make a real change and have impact”.
The article paints a very positive impression of New Zealand and Wellington in particular. The initiative and also the description of Wellington as “Silicon Welly” is very interesting.
Specific profiles of those who have made the move to Wellington are also given. Some of the comments include:
• “when I arrived in Wellington in 2011, I encountered entrepreneurs using the tools of business in exciting ways”
• “when I visit California now, I’m really struck by its contradictions. There’s so much money, but poverty is in your face at the same time. It seems like people work crazy hours, jostling for survival or trying to be the next unicorn. Honestly, Kiwis could learn a thing of two from Americans about claiming their strengths and putting themselves out there, but I love how down to earth and free from hype it is here. New Zealand has its problems, too, but it feels so much less intense”
• “people think its funny that I’m from San Francisco and I came to New Zealand to do startups, but to me it was natural. It’s very easy to start a company in New Zealand in terms of legal paperwork, but I also think there are things you can do there as an entrepreneur that you just can’t do elsewhere”
• “people call New Zealand an “incubation nation” because you can develop new products here and iterate and improve them in a forgiving market before going out to compete globally. Innovation is also enabled by the collaborative entrepreneurial community”
• “New Zealand has a utopian reputation, a fantasy island (with Hobbits) where they speak English and the culture’s not too different, far away from worldly problems”
I hadn’t really thought of New Zealand or in particular Wellington this way myself until reading the article, but it seems positive to me that its popularity is such that it is generating interest like this. Forbes is a US-based publication with US-based readers and it seems positive that New Zealand is receiving a good reputation in this way. The article deserves a read.