Survey: Data-center staffing shortage remains challenging

Building public awareness and achieving workforce diversity will help data-center operators contend with skills shortage, says Uptime Institute.

It’s getting harder to find people to design, build and manage data centers.

The sector is facing a staffing crisis, said Andy Lawrence, executive director of research at Uptime Institute, which just released its annual data-center survey. “We all know that that the data-center skills shortage is real. I think what we’re seeing in this data is that it’s getting a little worse,” Lawrence said.

This year, 61 percent of respondents said they've had significant difficulty retaining or recruiting staff, up from 55 percent last year.

“It’s ever present,” said Chris Brown, CTO of Uptime Institute, of the people problem. Skills that are in short supply range from facility staff to IT to security operations teams. Outreach is needed, he said. The industry is going to have to work harder to increase recruiting efforts and spread the word about its high-growth prospects. “In the data-center industry, we really haven’t marketed out to the society at large, who we are, what we are, how important we are, what careers are available, and that those careers are here to stay,” Brown said.

“The data-center industry is largely invisible," agreed Rhonda Ascierto, vice president of research at Uptime Institute, as the group unveiled its research findings. People don’t often realize that when systems and applications are running in the cloud, there’s a physical infrastructure that makes it possible. “There’s a very low awareness of that, generally speaking, across the general population,” Ascierto said. Meanwhile, unemployment rates range from 3 percent to 5.5 percent in countries

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