NZX looking to make a brain gain

By Val Leveson

Graduate recruitment programme seeks bright new starters.

Tim Lee says NZX offers diverse opportunities. Photo / Ted Baghurst
Tim Lee says NZX offers diverse opportunities. Photo / Ted Baghurst

Many bigger companies have launched graduate programmes as a way to attract the best and brightest straight out of university and nurture them into the culture of the company.

A smaller New Zealand company, the NZX, has seen the advantage of going this way too and is recruiting participants.

Mandy Simpson, NZX's head of operations, says the public perception of NZX is not really true. "People see it as larger than it is and also more one-dimensional than it is. Actually, we do a broad range of things, from being the publisher of Farmers Weekly to being in dairy export and the energy market." And of course there's the sharemarket.

Simpson says: "Being small and diverse, we are quite flexible and can offer something different from the large corporates. There is a broad range of opportunity."

Young employee Tim Lee, who has been at NZX for almost three years, agrees. He says: "NZX offers opportunities to get experience across a range of sectors and disciplines.

While your day job might be focused in one area there are always opportunities to expand into other parts of the business."

Simpson says the purpose of the graduate programme is to add to the diversity the company already has. "It's about bringing in new perspectives."

The NZX is looking for three graduates for the 2014 intake of the three-year graduate programme. Simpson says the age of graduates is not a concern and neither is their current course of study. "We're interested in a range of graduates - those with commerce degrees, computer science, engineering ... anything really, as long as it has an analytical component," she says. "Even skills in a science degree would be relevant."

Graduates will spend a year in a different area of the business, so they can see where they fit best. They will benefit from mentoring and training.

The graduate programme comprises both external and internal training. There will be teaching in technical elements and softer skills, for example there's also an expectation that the graduate will take part in the company's Toastmasters group.

Simpson says that it is hoped the recruits will stay beyond the three-year programme and continue to make a contribution to NZX, but it's their choice whether they do or not.

"Really, it's a fair deal - if they leave after three years, we still would have benefited by having had them around. It's really about helping them build a career path that they can see. They are on a good salary while they are in the programme too."

Simpson says that by the end of the three years, the graduate will have a broad view of the business and a good understanding of the market. The reason for the scheme, she says, is to build strong capability in NZX.

"We're building skills for the long term." She says it's all about accessing the brightest and the best from the universities. "We're a growing business and a people business at that."

Simpson says they are looking for applicants who are bright, curious, articulate, and interested in the financial market, although they don't need to have a lot of knowledge about it at this point.

Applications close on September 30, and people are expected to send their CVs and write a 400 to 500-word paper. Simpson says recruitment prospects are looking good. "We're having no trouble receiving good applicants."

Lee says working at the NZX is both challenging and interesting. "When I first started in the strategy team we were having a pretty in-depth look at some complex market quality issues.

"Now I am focused on our agri data business. Each project brings its own set of challenges which at times can be hard to overcome, but it is very rewarding to see work that you have done flowing through and becoming a reality within the business."

- NZ Herald

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