Thursday, October 19, 2017

Data centres of the world ready for next 5 years of demand, but skills gap is major concern

7 in 10 data centre organisations say they have trouble recruiting candidates for data centre and facilities roles.

The large majority (60%) of data centres worldwide say they are ready with enough floor space and power capacity to sustain market demand for at least the next five years.

However, infrastructure readiness seems to be ahead of a skilled data centre work force as more than 70% of organisations admit to have trouble recruiting candidates for data centre and facilities roles, according to 451 Research’s Voice of the Enterprise: Datacentre Transformation survey.

Respondents also said that while the total number of IT employees is expected to decline over the coming 12 months, most organisations will see the number of personnel dedicated to data centre and facility tasks stay the same or increase.

This solid outlook was most often attributed to overall business growth (63% of respondents), but more than a third of organisations also pointed to demand from project-driven growth.

73.7% of organisations said that recruiting for data centre and facilities is at least moderately difficult.

Respondents pointed to three common reasons: current candidates lack skills and experience, salary asking prices are too high, and a lack of candidates in the organisation’s region.

Christian Perry, Research Manager and lead analyst of 451 Research’s Voice of the Enterprise: Datacentre Transformation, said: “The good news is many organisations are not facing a data centre and facilities skills shortage at this time.

“Those who do have recruitment challenges say they most often train existing staff to learn new skills due to the dearth of available talent.”

Only 19.2% of the surveyed organisations facing these skills shortages said they would use managed service providers to fill the gaps. While this limits the opportunity for traditional MSPs and infrastructure vendors to offer value-added services, it creates opportunities for them to assist customers with training, for example providing education on eco-friendly HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) technologies.

Similarly, only 20.5% of the organisations that face skills shortages plan to move spending to public cloud, compared with 42% that said spending will not be impacted by those shortages, and 32.1% that said they will spend more on talent.

However, 451 Research analysts found differences between organisations that have more generalists than specialists across their IT team.

Perry said: “When IT teams consist primarily of generalists, they are more likely to invest to secure talent compared with specialist-heavy firms.

“We find that siloed organisations tend not to be in a significant period of IT team transition, whereas generalist firms are transitioning to become even more generalist-heavy. This can backfire when personnel leave or retire, forcing them to scramble to find specialist skills in facilities, for example.”