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Information Technology

Bridging the talent shortage in modern data centres

Schneider Electric 3 mins read
Joe Craparotta, Vice President, IT Business, Pacific Zone

In today's increasingly digitised world, data centres play a vital role in housing and managing the massive amounts of information generated by individuals, businesses, and governments. So much so, the data centre industry in Australia is projected to grow by 5.47% by 2028.


These facilities serve as the backbone of modern technology, supporting everything from cloud computing to artificial intelligence. However, as the demand for data centres continues to grow exponentially, there is a pressing issue that poses a significant challenge: the talent shortage in this crucial industry.


The rapid expansion of data centres has created a high demand for skilled professionals who can design, build, operate, and maintain these complex infrastructures. Unfortunately, the supply of qualified individuals with the necessary expertise has struggled to keep pace. As a result, the data centre industry is facing a significant talent shortage, hindering its ability to meet the increasing demands for data processing and storage.


The war for data centre talent


A report by Uptime Institute indicates that by 2025, at least 2.3 million full-time staff will be required to keep data centres globally operational, with demand coming mainly from internet giants and colocation providers in Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa. 


To address the shortage of data centre talent, industry leaders must work together to improve recruitment, enhance training and increase awareness of opportunities. However, there is a path forward. By replacing traditional hiring and mentorship strategies with new enhanced training opportunities and embracing the gig economy, leveraging transferable talents and mentorship opportunities to engage and inspire. 


Embrace the gig economy to meet the tech talent crunch


The gig economy, characterised by short-term contracts or freelance work, is rapidly gaining popularity and becoming more mainstream worldwide. This will soon be vital in Australia given the  recent research from CBRE, which found there is approximately 183,000 sqm of data centre space currently under construction across Australian major cities. Once these developments are completed and open for operation, companies will need to staff these sites across Australia.


Data centre companies have the opportunity to leverage the growing pool of skilled gig workers to access a broad range of adaptable professionals and quickly advance projects without the need for time-consuming recruitment procedures. Additionally, gig workers can be brought on board on a short-term basis to address non-core tasks or to manage spikes in demand. This flexibility allows companies to remain agile and responsive to changing business needs while also helping to control costs.


Recognise the significance of non-traditional, transferrable talents  


Data centres require a diverse range of skills beyond technical expertise. Individuals with backgrounds in fields like project management, logistics, customer service, and even arts can possess transferable skills that are highly applicable to data centre operations. By tapping into this talent pool, data centre players can access a broader range of adaptable professionals who can contribute to projects without the need for time-consuming recruitment procedures.


In many cases, non-traditional workers may possess unique abilities that reveal hidden potential, even if they are not immediately apparent. Data centre players can make changes to job descriptions' requirements to create a more inclusive and diversified tech talent pool. By doing so, they foster a diverse and dynamic workforce, bringing fresh perspectives and innovative solutions to the industry. Offering training programmes and certifications that bridge the gap between non-traditional talents and data centre requirements can help these individuals acquire the necessary skills for success in the field.


Mentorship as a tool to engage and inspire


To support the next generation of data centre talent, leaders can play a role in inspiring young people to consider a career in technology. This can be achieved through internships or STEM-related programmes. 


Mentoring can help support both senior and junior employees' ongoing professional growth. By pairing experienced professionals with those who are just starting their careers, mentorship programmes can help develop skills and provide guidance to help bridge the skills gap.


A dedicated professional development platform like the Schneider Electric University can also help close the skills gap in Australia’s data centre industry. These programmes are essential to help industry players upgrade their skills and keep up with new technological, sustainability, and energy efficiency developments.


The talent shortage in data centres is a serious problem, but it is not insurmountable. By taking steps to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce the industry will thrive, develop, and fulfil the potential of digitisation.

About us:


About Schneider Electric 


Schneider’s purpose is to empower all to make the most of our energy and resources, bridging progress and sustainability for all. We call this Life Is On.


Our mission is to be your digital partner for Sustainability and Efficiency.


We drive digital transformation by integrating world-leading process and energy technologies, end-point to cloud connecting products, controls, software and services, across the entire lifecycle, enabling integrated company management, for homes, buildings, data centres, infrastructure and industries.

We are the most local of global companies. We are advocates of open standards and partnership ecosystems that are passionate about our shared Meaningful Purpose, Inclusive and Empowered values.

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