An exploratory study of factors influencing the attraction and retention of skilled employees in the digital sector in Hawke’s Bay

Thumbnail Image
Other Title
Narula, Jaikaran
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master in Applied Management
Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT)
Sibley, Jonathan
Erturk, Emre
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Hawke's Bay (N.Z.)
New Zealand
skilled migrants
digital technology
labour market
motivation factors
quality of life
Narula, J. (2022). An exploratory study of factors influencing the attraction and retention of skilled employees in the digital sector in Hawke’s Bay. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Applied Management). Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), New Zealand.
INTRODUCTION: This study examines why skilled digital sector labour moves to, returns to live in or leaves the regional community in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. In the wider context, the study discusses the potential impact of these factors on the local labour pool. LITERATURE: The study is grounded in migration theory, with a particular focus on push and pull factors impacting the migration decision and the role of amenity (cultural differentiation and environmental quality) (Moss, 1994). METHODS: A comparative case analysis was undertaken comprising two public and two private regional organisations. A combination of face-to-face interviews with a senior executive (n=4), an online survey of skilled digital sector employees (n=51), and a survey of EIT Bachelor of Computing Systems (BCS) graduates (n=36) was undertaken. Secondary data was also used, including document analysis and longitudinal BCS graduate data (n=656). FINDINGS: The skilled labour force in the Hawke's Bay digital sector appears to be primarily male, middle-aged, and European, with a significant migrant component. The employees in both the public and private sectors provided similar responses as to why they moved to or returned to the Hawke’s Bay. These were social factors (being near family and friends) and amenity factors (quality of life, climate, and being away from a major metropolitan area). Better salary and/or job opportunities are the main reason employees would leave the region. There is some evidence younger skilled employees are more likely to leave the region. DISCUSSION: Skilled digital sector labour moves to Hawke’s Bay for lifestyle and social reasons and leaves for greater career opportunities and economic reasons. Interestingly, most of the employees surveyed stated they intend to stay living in Hawke's Bay for the next 10 years or more. There appears to be a lack of workforce diversity with both Māori and women being significantly underrepresented in the digital sector workforce in Hawke's Bay. A key area of future research could be to replicate the study for other regional locations in New Zealand and other industry sectors.
Link to ePress publication
Copyright holder
Copyright notice
All rights reserved
Copyright license
Available online at