Enterprise datacentre operators share staff recruitment challenges in 451 Research report

New data from 451 Research shines a light on the challenges enterprise datacentre operators face when sourcing staff

Enterprises are confident their datacentres have the capacity to cope with whatever the next five years of technological change throw at them, but are growing concerned about where they will source the staff to work in them.

451 Research’s latest Voice of The Enterprise: Datacentre Transformation study saw 60% of enterprise datacentre operators claim their facilities have sufficient floor space and power capacity to see them through the next five years.

The report is based on the responses of 680 IT and datacentre decision makers across the globe, supplemented by feedback from the analyst house’s 60,000-strong subscriber base of senior IT leaders.

While many enterprises are looking to downsize their datacentre footprint through consolidation and increased use of public cloud resources, 32.1% of respondents said they intend to ramp up investments in recruiting staff to work in their facilities.

Furthermore, many of the organisations surveyed said they expect the total number of general IT practitioners they employ will fall over the next 12 months, but the size of the workforce focused on managing their datacentres will remain the same or increase.

Finding the right staff to oversee the running of their datacentres is expected by 73.7% of those surveyed to end up being “moderately difficult” because prospective candidates lack the required skills, demand too high a salary or live too far away, the report said.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that few IT enthusiasts actively choose to pursue a career in the datacentre space, 451 Research claims, and the ones that do are often at risk of being poached by the hyperscale cloud giants.

Read more about datacentre-related skills challenges

“They are recruited heavily and paid well by large cloud service providers with massive datacentres,” 451 Research said in a statement. “This leaves a dwindling pool of talent for enterprises without the same resources or allure.”

To overcome these challenges, 19.2% of respondents said they would enlist the help of a managed service provider to fill the talent gap, while a further 20.5% of skill shortage sufferers said they would opt to move more of their applications and workloads to the public cloud instead. 

“The good news is many organisations are not facing a datacentre and facilities skills shortage at this time,” said Christian Perry, research manager and author of 451 Research’s datacentre transformation report.

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

Sourcing specialist skills

The market watchers at 451 Research found sourcing datacentre staff can become more of a challenge for organisations that focus too much on hiring IT generalists than individuals with more specialist skills.

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

“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,” he added.

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This statement “Those who do have recruitment challenges say they most often train existing staff to learn new skills due to the dearth of available talent.” will end up facing this statement "ones that do are often at risk of being poached by the hyperscale cloud giants." 

I believe it's very challenging for companies to retain talent in a datacenter usually located in a remote area while those talent can find a better job at another tech company with larger paycheck and more opportunities to grow their career. so sometimes training existing staff would help them become a better candidate to interview for GCP/Azure/AWS or others. which means the ROI is not great on this investment from a company perspective. 

This is one of the main reasons why public cloud adoption is on the rise for the past few years and will still grow year over year. 
I am a believer that companies should focus on what they do best vs. worrying about managing their infrastructure. MSPs could be a better option than hiring ops internally.