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Filling the gap: Why improving diversity is key to NZ's tech sector

Technology skills are in record demand, but diversity remains an issue. How can we make a change and attract local talent into tech careers?

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Date and time:

Mon 16 May 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


Nationwide (more than one region)


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The future of New Zealand’s tech sector is significantly important to our local economy. With annual earnings around $14B, the industry is a substantial contributor to our GDP.

It’s also a sector that is growing fast, with a study conducted by NZTech in July 2021 revealing there were 180 firms looking for 2,156 people to fill critical digital roles at that time.

Yet, despite the urgent need for more skilled talent and expertise in technology development, some population demographics are still not equally represented in the industry.

The Digital Skills Aotearoa Report (2021) highlights that in education, just 39% of technology standards participants in New Zealand are female. In the workforce, women account for just 27% of those working in digital technology roles. The same report also revealed that in education, Pacific peoples accounted for just 9% of technology standards participants, while workforce representation is just 3%.

We all have a role and responsibility to change this representation and ensure we can continue expanding the local tech talent pool. So, what can we do to help support and encourage more women and other diverse local talent into the sector? And how could this boost the future of the industry?

Our panel will explore the challenges Aotearoa is facing in attracting more local talent into the tech sector, what needs to be done to encourage more women into tech, existing programmes and channels seeking to improve racial diversity in the sector, and how businesses can also play a part in changing the faces of the industry.

The panel discussion will be followed by an opportunity for Q&A from the audience.


Grant online

Grant McIvor

Head of Technology (Enterprise) at MYOB

Grant is an established product technology leader with a Bachelor of Engineering and a Master of Business Administration. Previously a senior software engineer, he has held leadership roles at Paymark & Orion Health. As Head of Technology for Enterprise at MYOB, he delivers ERP and Payroll solutions for Mid-Market customers. Grant is also involved in supporting the MYOB DevelopHer Programme and providing mentoring to Māori start-ups through MYOB’s partnership with Kōkiri. 

Mahsa SheSharp 2 v2

Mahsa Mohaghegh

Founder of She Sharp and AUT Director of Women in Technology

With a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, Mahsa is heavily involved in researching and developing high-level AI strategy in contexts such as the future of work and digital disruption. She is on the Executive Council for AI Forum and is a board member of NZ Tech representing government and education, and on their sub-board for diversity and inclusion. Mahsa is the founder and director of charitable trust She Sharp, which aims to encourage more girls to study STEM fields. Her passion for promoting careers in technology to young women has been widely recognised and has seen her nominated for and win numerous awards.

Poncho TupuToa 2

Poncho Rivera-Pavon

Director of Pathways at TupuToa

Poncho’s training in psychology and passion for great people outcomes have seen him successfully navigate a wide range of people-centric roles in Talent Acquisition, Generalist HR, Learning and Development and Graduate Management. Poncho has worked with TupuToa as a volunteer for the past six years and has been a strong advocate for reducing entry barriers to the workplace for Māori and Pacific young professionals. In his newly created role as Director of Pathways, Poncho aims to have the largest database of Māori and Pacific professionals in Aotearoa and support them in their professional growth.

Malcolm Digital Boost 2

Malcolm Luey

Policy Director at Digital Boost

Having worked in the public service for 28 years, Malcolm has worked in a range of public service agencies and departments. This has included positions in the Health & Disability Commissioner’s office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Ministry of Justice, Crown Law Office, Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet, Customs and the Ministry of Education. 

In his current role as Director – Digital Boost (MBIE), Malcolm leads a small team working in partnership with the private sector to rapidly create and implement the Digital Boost (Small Business Digital Enablement) Programme which includes the free Digital Business Education platform and the Digital Boost Alliance of 30+ private sector organisations committed to the acceleration of digital adoption in New Zealand.

Mehak DevelopHer

Mehak Mahajan

MYOB DevelopHer Protégé

Mehak joined business management platform, MYOB, in July 2021 as a part of the FMA- DevelopHer Scholarship. Prior to applying for DevelopHer, Mehak completed a Bachelor of Arts and worked as a Google Ads Specialist. While working there, she realised her love for systems and data, which led her to apply for the MYOB DevelopHer programme. On completing the 6-month DevelopHer Programme, Mehak moved into a DevelopHer Protégé role.

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