How Datacom Creates a Pipeline of Tech Talent

26 February 2024

In 2023, Datacom earned $1.49B revenue, employed over 6,000 staff members, and ranked third in the TIN200. Justin Gray, Managing Director of Datacom NZ, tells us about why they see fostering talent as a responsibility.

What is Datacom’s attitude to recruitment and its flipside, retainment?

As one of Australasia’s largest homegrown tech companies, Datacom’s core belief is that we shouldn’t just be recruiting talent, we need to be fostering it and helping create a pipeline of tech talent to help meet existing and future demand.

We support a wide range of internships and graduate opportunities and we are a partner in a range of tech talent development initiatives and programmes including Mission Ready, AWS re/Start, Take2, TupuToa, First Foundation, and Microsoft’s #10kWomen. We have developed our own Early Careers Programme, which supports career starters. We have also designed short online courses available for free via a virtual learning platform, which give students and career starters the opportunity to develop practical skills in four key tech pathways.

For our existing teams we also offer significant growth and development opportunities. We think our culture around fostering talent is part of being a responsible tech employer and it helps support staff retention.


Is Datacom’s onshore (NZ-based) staff growing faster than its offshore staff, and why is that if so?

We are a large company of over 6500 people based predominantly across New Zealand and Australia. Being a local company – with staff on the ground – is important to us but our teams work across regions, so we can be responsive to changing customer needs and level of demand. Growth is relatively even across geos but where we’re seeing a lot of growth is in our SaaS team which now comprises more than 600 people and is continuing to expand.


Candidates at a recent Mission Ready graduation. 



How can Kiwi tech firms attract world-class employees: both bringing them in from overseas and keeping homegrown talent onshore?

Outside of the basics – fair, competitive salaries and a supportive, productive work environment – our experience shows many people’s priorities are a sense of purpose and opportunities to advance. To ensure our existing teams and new joiners – from New Zealand and overseas – can see their career path and the opportunities that lie ahead for them, we have several company-wide programmes to support growth and development, including Aspire and Strive.

Aspire is our performance programme and it is focused on goal setting with every team member, and then connecting people with resources and training to help them meet their goals. Strive runs alongside Aspire and is focused on building opportunities for continuous improvement. It includes a quarterly reward and recognition programme, professional qualification funding, and in-house training opportunities.

We also have a strong mentor culture that starts with our senior leadership team. All our leaders are encouraged to identify and work with talented, motivated individuals to outline career pathways at Datacom and connect them with development opportunities.


What does Datacom do to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace? What best practices from your People and Culture department (or equivalent) would you share with other firms?

We think that your People & Culture team and hiring policies are just one part of the answer. Our team is committed to best practice around unbiased, gender neutral and inclusive language and descriptions, offering flexibility and opportunities for remote work, and looking broadly at all the skills different job candidates bring to the table. We are also very focused on people’s experiences of life inside Datacom – if you can create an inclusive work environment where people feel comfortable and valued, then your existing teams are your best advocates for encouraging new talent to join the company.

One of our leaders often talks about how “hard it is to be what you can’t see”, so we are actively involved in initiatives to attract and foster tech talent in people who have traditionally been underrepresented in the sector, including Māori, Pasifika, and women. We also have onboarding and mentoring programmes at Datacom to foster and support employees that are new to the sector and looking to grow their tech career.


How do you see the future of NZ’s tech workforce?

We know there is massive demand for tech skills and that this is set to grow, particularly in areas like cybersecurity, cloud, and AI and automation. To meet this demand and to ensure we have a diverse workforce that is representative of our communities, we can’t just rely on traditional pathways into tech.

We believe the focus has to be on developing lots of different pathways into tech careers, so that more people see a career in tech as an accessible and rewarding career path. As outlined above, we are involved in a wide range of talent development initiatives – with partners and through Datacom’s own in-house programmes – and over the past three years this has seen us support hundreds of internships and employment opportunities for people who are new to the tech sector, both career starters and people rejoining the workforce or looking for a career change. Building the tech workforce that we need for the future needs to be a collaborative effort across industry, government, and educators.



Share this post: