Calls for greater collaboration in identifying future digital infrastructure leaders


Data centres and digital infrastructure businesses are still failing to attract new talent into the market, which threatens the industry’s future, even though roles for senior executive/C-suite positions are markedly on the rise. 

This was one of the key findings to come from the ‘Talent Won’t Always Come Knocking’ seminar, hosted by Portman Partners, the global executive search business, that sought to uncover how best to invite, entice and embolden new talent into a career in data centres

In an in-depth analysis by Professor Rabih Bashroush, a digital infrastructure policymaker, of data centre businesses compared to general industry firms, volumes of entry-level talent within the former rose by 15 per cent over the last 12 months, less than half of the 33 per cent rise witnessed by businesses across other sectors. 

Conversely, while positions for C-suite executives in general industry rose by only one per cent, senior jobs within the data centre and digital infrastructure community rose by a staggering 28 per cent. And for Director level (i.e Boardroom) appointments, that figure was more than three times that of their general industry counterparts. 

Mike Meyer, managing director of Portman Partners, said that the biggest concern is the gap between the experienced and inexperienced employees: “The biggest question our industry should be asking right now is where are our leaders of tomorrow?” he explained. 

“Whereas we have a concentration of employees with 15 to 20 years’ experience, and in positions of seniority, there is then a wide gap to the new generation of employees, which is going to leave a real challenge for our industry over the next decade as those with experience start to retire.” 

The most popular jobs that were being filled within data centres over the last three years have centred around operations, business development, engineering, project management and IT. Not surprisingly, jobs that were being filled tended to centre on geographies where data centres are most prevalent including Singapore, Luxembourg and Ireland. 

Meyer said that collaborative action is now needed: “We not only need to accelerate our recruitment of future talent, but also fill-in the gaps by attracting new talent from other industries, and equip them with the skills they need to help them and their employers to grow,” he continued. 

“We need to be attracting people who have the potential to grow the industry – people from under-represented groups and people with cognitive diversity that comes from different life experiences and socio-cognitive variables.  

“It is quite simple: if we do not build a future, there is no future.” 

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