The Technology Sector and Education


In Prometheus Bound, Aeschylus has our hero chained to a mountain in the Caucasus where an eagle daily eats his liver only for it to replenish overnight. It was the price for stealing fire from the Titan gods and bringing it to us mortals.

In the Technology sector the attraction and retention of [senior] talent is daunting if you are a [Cloud] Titan and more so if you are a Prometheus looking to capture fire. This is further a challenge when you are a global challenger / leader in your specialist field, but your customers are offshore and NZ marketing and brand awareness is therefore limited.

So, what are the statistics on engaging the Education sector and how does the company attract talent when it is not well known locally?

The funding of Education

CECP, a US based CEO led social conscience coalition advises that Education is the major recipient of Corporate funding alongside Health, and to a lesser extent the Arts. Major industries to fund Education in proportion of their overall investment in the Community are Consumer Discretionary, Industrials and Technology. Technology is the highest at 50% when combining school and tertiary.

CAF, a UK agency meanwhile recorded that FTSE 100 companies’ contribution from the technology sector rose 335% from 2009 to 2016.

The funding for Tertiary (vs. School) is increasing. In North America the practice to fund one’s alma mater is well established. At times it results in the naming of buildings after the donor. In New Zealand we have seen this with Owen Glen and the University of Auckland, and The [Denis and Verna] Adam Art Gallery at Victoria University to name but two local examples.

JB Were, an ANZ investment company opines in their 2017 report on the Community sector in Australia that Australians would increasingly follow the example of supporting their Tertiary Institutions.

JB Were (ANZ) , and CECP (US) reports share Education (school and tertiary combined) account for 48% of larger companies Community contributions in Australia, 39% in NZ and 30% in USA.

The evolution of Education

How the business and educational sectors partner is also changing. At Waterloo in Ontario, Canada businesses on campus alternate semesters in employment and education, while the University forgoes shareholding in IP campus ventures for a deferred (if uncontracted) return.

The Phone maker Blackberry was founded by a student and was based nearby, with its founder employing students and subsequently endowing funds on the University. Google set up in neighbouring Kitchener in 2005, and by 2013 Waterloo was the third highest tertiary institution source of its workforce.

Local Technology and Education partnering

In 2016 Cyber Toa a Wellington Head Quartered ICT Security consultancy partnered with Victoria University to strengthen New Zealand and the Asia–Pacific’s resilience against the escalating threat of cybercrime and cyberattacks. A co-designed Bachelor of Cyber is the first known collaboration of commercial and tertiary partners in New Zealand.

The courses are being delivered in partnership to students. Internships for students in international malware reverse engineering labs are being secured. The Partners are looking to offer a new Master of Cybersecurity. Cyber-Toa meanwhile assisted the University to respond to cyberattack in 2017.

Potentia, a specialist NZ IDT Recruitment business is partnering in the tertiary space with scholarships.

Thought and Practice leadership partnership

World leading companies could do well to consider the business and recruitment / retention advantages in a Tertiary education partnership. These include, but are not restricted to:

-          Working with a University and on a program where you have expertise

-          A collaboration opportunity in syllabus and delivery to improve the work readiness of graduates

-          Commercial customer opportunities with the University partner

-          Demonstrating Academic credentials to customers and involving key staff in an agreed capacity

-          Recruitment advantages including first view of top students with internship opportunities

Other opportunities

There are further opportunities with the University linked Summer of Tech, and practitioner driven industry groups such as Ruby on Rails. ANZ development company, Rabid Technology sponsor women into technology through an employee led “Rails Girls” association.  

Having your team contribute together in a hackathon or similar exercise may also attract like minds and show potential recruits just who you are and what for what you stand.


Aeschylus made Prometheus not only the bringer of fire and civilization to mortals but also their preserver, giving us the arts and sciences as well as the means of survival.

But you’re not chained to the Caucasus’. You’ve chosen to live in and hire talent from Godzone. So why only survive, when you can align with a[n education] community partner and thrive?


Photo: Prometheus gilded cast bronze by Paul Manship, 1934; at Rockefeller Center, New York, New York

InsightsBrian Steele