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The Winter Report 2020 from BCS highlights the growing skills gap threatening the data centre industry

Business Critical Solutions

The current unprecedented growth in the data centre industry may be unsustainable in the long term due to increasing concerns surrounding scarce resources and rising labour costs. That’s according to the latest industry survey from Business Critical Solutions. 

The Winter Report 2020 captures the views of over 300 senior data centre professionals across Europe, with 55% of survey respondents believing that the market will continue to see an increase in demand over the next year. This is supported by over 90% of developers and investor respondents stating they expect to see a further expansion in their data centre portfolio over the coming year.

However, concerns are being raised by many design engineering and construction respondents around general shortages amongst design, construction and operational professionals, with four-fifths expressing resourcing concerns. These respondents identified build professionals as being subject to the most serious shortages – 82% stated this view compared with 78% for design professionals and 77% for operational functionality of data centres.

When asked to rank the impact of this respondents highlighted the increased workload placed on their existing staff (96%), rising operating/labour costs (92%) and over 80% indicating that this has led to an increase in the use of outsourcing options over the past 12 months. The increased workload for existing staff had in turn led to problems in resourcing existing work, with just over 70% stating that they had experienced difficulties in meeting deadlines or client objectives.

James Hart, CEO at BCS (Business Critical Solutions) said, “At BCS we are currently doing the rounds of careers fairs, looking for candidates for next year’s graduate and apprenticeship scheme. When we are talking to these young people we often find that they either haven’t even considered our sector and/or they have misconceived ideas about what this career path involves. 

“We can address this by going into universities, colleges and schools telling STEM graduates about the data centre industry and how great it is. Without action, these issues will become more acute, so the rallying cry for 2020 is that the sector is an exciting place to be and we have to get out there and spread the word.”

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