In today’s digital world, data centres are at the heart of our information ecosystem, powering all industries from automotive to healthcare. However, as the demand for data storage and processing continues to grow, so too does the need for skilled professionals to manage and maintain these critical infrastructure facilities. Unfortunately, there is a growing skills shortage in the data centre industry with a limited pool of qualified candidates to fill the growing number of open positions. From improving training and education programs to encouraging diversity and inclusivity, there are many ways to work together to ensure that the data centre industry has the skilled workforce it needs to keep pace with the demands of the digital age.

In September 2020 the UK government released its National Data Strategy, which aims to unlock the power of data for the benefit of society and the economy. The strategy details a comprehensive plan for how the UK will capture the related opportunities while considering carefully the social and legal challenges that come with the territory. A key aspect of any strategy is a need to develop a skilled and diverse workforce that can drive innovation and productivity within the sector. With its focus on ethical, social and legal responsibilities, the National Data Strategy also provides a framework for building public trust in data and ensuring that the benefits of data-driven innovation are available to all. By improving education and training programs, promoting diversity and inclusion, and incentivising advanced education programs, the strategy aims to address the formidable skills gap the data industry is faced with and to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of the global digital economy. 

In addition to the challenges of attracting and retaining skilled workers in the data centre industry, there is also a growing concern about the aging workforce. Many of the current data centre professionals are approaching retirement age, and there are simply not enough young professionals with the necessary skills to replace them. This demographic shift is exacerbating the existing skills gap and it highlights the urgent need to take action to improve awareness, to train and develop the next generation of data centre professionals. By investing in bespoke education programs and fostering a culture of continuous learning and development, we can help to ensure that the data centre industry has a sustainable workforce that can meet the evolving needs of the digital landscape.

From data centre technicians to network engineers, there are a wide variety of roles available for individuals with enthusiasm and the right skills and training in the industry. However, as previously discussed, there is a growing skills shortage in the industry, which is why companies like Datalec Precision Installations (DPI) are working hard to encourage more young professionals to consider a career in the sector. Through initiatives like apprenticeship schemes, career fairs, and training programs, Datalec is working with third parties, such as CNet Training, to raise awareness of the opportunities available in the data centre industry and to help develop the next generation of skilled professionals. By providing young professionals with the education and training they need to succeed, companies like Datalec are helping to build a sustainable workforce that can keep pace with rapid technological advancements. 

In conclusion, the data centre industry is facing a significant skills shortage that is only set to worsen as demand for data storage and processing continues to grow. However, through a range of initiatives, many companies are working to address this gap and encourage the next generation of skilled professionals. Meanwhile, the European Union’s Connectivity Strategy is seeking to improve digital infrastructure and through this, promote innovation to ensure that businesses and citizens across Europe have access to the high-speed internet and application services they need to thrive. By investing equally in education and training as we do in technology, we can ensure that the data centre industry has a sustainable workforce that can continue to support our global digital transformation.