Data centre skills gap remains critical

The research – entitled ‘Motivation to Modernise’ – found that 93 per cent of IT professionals were aware that a growing data centre skills gap still exists, and 64 per cent said it will have a detrimental impact on their business within the next one to two years. However, despite the rising level of awareness around this issue, just 29 per cent have moved to put measures in place to deal with it and six per cent of respondents felt the skills gap was ‘nothing to worry about’.

Perhaps the most telling finding was that those who are more likely to migrate to new facilities owned by their company in the next five years were most concerned about the detrimental impact (87 per cent) of the skills gap, whilst those outsourcing to a third party were less troubled (65 per cent). Interestingly, a recent IT Skills Gap study by CompTIA also found that 93 per cent of UK executives rate data centre management skills as important whist 40 per cent of UK executives expressed concern about possible skills gaps in that area.

‘Given the size of the industry, the skills gap is more of a crisis than a minor concern,’ said Franek Sodzawiczny, founder and CEO at Zenium Technology Partners. ‘Data is driving every business today and the increasing demands for real time access to it in order to stay competitive means that systems need to be running effectively and efficiently 24×7. Quite simply, you need the very best people supporting these infrastructures as failures can be catastrophic.’

According to the analyst group Gartner, the data centre industry is going to be worth annually in the region of £150m by 2015, whilst the UK think tank, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), tells us that this industry will have created almost 300,000 new jobs between 2012 and 2015 in cloud computing services alone.

‘The industry has been talking about the impending doom that the skills gap may inflict on the data centre sector for some time now, but not much progress seems to have been made in tackling it head on,’ he said. ‘It’s good news that outsourcing always becomes a more popular business choice when belts are tightened but if operators don’t develop a long term view on how best to manage training and recruitment, they will undoubtedly suffer.’

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