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Bridging the talent gap

Image: Adobe Stock : kunakorn

App Developer Amanda Frasier explores some potential solutions to the talent shortage facing the sector.

The tech industry and the data centres behind them have made remarkable achievements in the past few years. From practical augmented reality to widespread artificial intelligence usage to inexpensive cloud storage, the world has been continually transformed by its successes.

However, the industry is facing a challenge. According to a recent State of Data report, 60% of data and analytics leaders admitted that the biggest hardship in their business was hiring individuals with the essential proficiencies and talents. The labour shortage has left many firms struggling to find personnel to handle daily crucial operations like data governance and cloud migration assistance. Should this continue, the talent shortage can cost the data centre industry over $449.7 billion (£369 billion) globally. Firms need to find ways to address this urgent situation. The following is an overview of where they can begin.

Increase job benefits

While the data centre industry is grappling with the talent shortage problem on an industry level, the same isn’t necessarily true with data professionals as individuals. This year, database developers saw a 38.8% increase in their salary, while data warehouse developers got a 25% increase. Data scientists and machine learning engineers dropped in demand and still got a slight salary increase as well.

Meanwhile, more senior and director roles in the data centre industry are opening up. This heightened optionality for the limited number of data professionals is part of the difficulty for data centres to find talent — there is a large amount of competition. For these facilities to find ways to appeal to these skilled workers, they must note that among the top reasons for candidates wanting to move work was insufficient pay and benefits. Company owners will want to ensure their salary offerings are competitive and supply attractive incentives, including flexible work schedules, comprehensive health insurance, and good company culture.

Utilise professional recruitment solutions

Another way data centres can close their talent gap is by outsourcing their search for qualified employees. When the pool of skilled candidates is high, it might make sense to use internal systems to determine the best fit for a company’s culture and work conditions. In light of the shortage, however, it makes more sense to leverage recruitment solutions that can provide data centres carefully selected professionals from a network of outstanding candidates.

Data centres will want to evaluate their hire services’ recruiting methodology and proprietary approach, of course, and to track the performance of the employees they receive. Should data companies find themselves a reliable service that delivers consistent results, however, this could be one of the simplest and most effective methods in finding the talent that the industry needs.

Upskill current workers

Data centres may also want to look to the personnel they have to find the needed talent. Opportunities to upskill can be mutually beneficial for data centre employees and employers alike — it allows the former to remain continually relevant with an updated skill set and lets the latter reap the benefits of an already-reliable worker having the competence to fulfil needed tasks without additional onboarding. While it won’t completely resolve the problem of manpower, it’s a great way for data centres to maximise their current resources.

Pitch the data centre industry to students

In the long term, data centres will want to increase their selection of professionals by enticing students to the industry. This can be done by organising initiatives like talks and workshops targeting those in university. Here, data professionals can talk in-depth about their work, while data centre executives and other adjacent professionals can emphasise the impact the data centre industry has on everyday services like social media, streaming, and remote learning.

Another type of productive project has been the data centre sector learning programme. Data centres can work alongside schools to co-teach a programme that allows students to gain essential knowledge and skills to thrive in technical careers. While this would require a significant amount of resources, data centres that enact it will aid in future-proofing the industry and have the first pick of the next generation of professionals.

The data centre industry needs more skilled workers. The above are four strategies the sector can leverage to attain them.

Picture of Amanda Frasier
Amanda Frasier
App Developer

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