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Building a sustainable recruitment and retention strategy

Image: Adobe Stock / Kitreel

Why is it that sustainable resources are being reviewed across the board in the data centre industry, except for talent?

Building a sustainable model for your workforce is just as important as the components in your data centre builds and applications. Do we really think our leaders, engineers and creatives will live and work forever? Research suggests the average age of a data centre engineer is 60 years old. Now with every will in the world, these individuals cannot see the industry through the next 20 to 30 years, so we need to discover who will.  

#Talent #Skillsgap #STEM are all buzzwords we have become accustomed to (and perhaps too used to) in recent years, especially in the data centre industry. This has led to a lot of ‘talking the talk’ of change, but not so much ‘walking the walk’.

The fact is, our industry has a severe lack of diversity – particularly with regards to age and gender. It’s widely accepted that lack of diversity leads to long-term harm, so it is imperative that we begin to inspire young people and encourage them to realise that the data centre industry could be a viable and inclusive future career choice. Talking directly with young people in schools and highlighting the crucial impact the data centre industry has on our lives, I believe, will help to encourage this new talent. 

One in three young people cite lack of awareness as the main barrier to considering a career within the data centre industry. How is this the case, when we have such a strong USP – the daily lives of every young person in the UK today relies on the existence of our industry. Without data centres and cloud, there is no social media, online banking, remote learning or streaming services. We need to create a sustainable recruitment and retention strategy across our industry and engaging the next generation of school leavers is exactly the way to do it.  

Another factor exacerbating the lack of young talent is simply that times have changed. Young people have different sources of inspiration, they have different tools on which they search and we as an industry are not doing enough to promote ourselves – our employer brand for young people is weak. We need to accept that hiring those in their early careers is not the same as hiring those established in their careers. Recruitment processes need a reality check. 

Early careers, however fluffy you think the term is, needs to be a strategic agenda item in the boardroom. Many in the industry will be paying into the apprenticeship levy and missing out on the opportunities to grow their entry level talent for future workforce planning. Also, in re-defining our story and what we want to be known for as a workplace for future generations, we do have to look inward and ask, are we realistic in our expectations? Ranging from career progression and development right through to remuneration and compensation packages. In preparing our brand for the audience we wish to attract, or retain, we must act now. 

This year, we can either continue to talk, or we can begin to make tangible investments and commitments to ensure that 2023 (and beyond) is the era in which the data centre industry positions itself as the career industry of choice for young talent. HireHigher is working with schools and industry partners to walk the talk now.

The time for action is well overdue. The talent baton needs to be passed on, not to render the specialists and experts we have now obsolete but to ensure that their legacy can be built upon and developed in the future. 

Picture of Adelle Desouza
Adelle Desouza
Founder of HireHigher

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