Why is it sustainable resources are being reviewed for the data centre industry except for talent? Do we really think our leaders, engineers and creatives will live and work forever? Building a sustainable model for your work force is just as important as the components in your DC builds and applications.
#Talent #Skillsgap #STEM are all buzzwords we have become accustomed and perhaps too acclimatised to in recent years, especially in the data centre and Technology industries meaning it’s been all talk for far too long.
Let’s cut the waffle, multiple research houses suggest the average age of a data center engineer is 60 years old. Now with every will in the world, these individuals can not see the industry through the next 20-30years, so who will?
Many people have discussed this topic, myself included spanning back 8 years ago – now of course the elephant in the room is that not enough has been done. Words are cheap, the industry continues to suffer from a lack of diversity, sadly our industry is hit with both age and gender.
Early careers however fluffy you think the term is, and your predisposition towards young people there needs to be a strategic agenda item in the boardroom. Many of you will be paying into the apprenticeship levy and missing out on the opportunities to grow your entry level talent for future workforce planning. Others will be constantly asking themselves the same question “how do we differentiate” yet for some reason diversity of thought is never held as the suspect. The academia surrounding diversity is proven, you needn’t have me repeat the benefits to you. So I won’t.
In my opinion, the reason we have all done a lot of talking and not a lot of walking is because many do not know where to start. We are perhaps natural cynics, because in our industry we are wired to think “we need to reduce the chances of this going wrong”. Hiring the wrong individual at any level is a costly experience, both emotionally and financially. This attitude results in the idea of hiring in self image, and hey presto we have a homogenous workforce. We also seek comfort in experience, but we are defining experience by the wrong parameters, years in an industry is not the only type of experience that can add value.
The second theoretical factor exacerbating for the lack of young talent is simply that times have changed. Young people have different sources of inspiration, they have different tools to 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.
The need to revolutionise careers advice for young people and update employer brands for b2b organisations is apparent within the data centre industry. Noticeable skills shortages coming through recruitment at a large b2b international telecoms company lead to a graduate scheme which eventually lead to HireHigher independently being set up to drive change.
Spending time in schools as well as with existing young professionals, apprentices and undergraduates to ensure the message students hear is as relevant, recent and relatable as possible is vital!
Working internally with the b2b telecoms company helped contribute to addressing the diversity of their workforce with an award winning graduate scheme and was named one of the best places to work 2017.
The creation of a young professionals network for the data centre and connected industries is starting, bringing those that have managed the jump to really assess what needs to be done to ensure we can attract, retain and develop young talent that our industry craves. We always welcome a connection with those who believe they have the capacity for change, mindset for making a difference and bandwidth to break the mould and take action for young talent in our industry.
The time for action is well overdue, the talent mantle in our industry needs to be passed on, not to render the specialists and experts we have now as obsolete but to ensure that their legacy can be built upon and developed well into the future.