Last year, Uptime Institute released a survey about the data center industry. Some of the findings pointed to the fact that young people are not very interested in pursuing careers in the data center. In short, the data center industry has an aging workforce. The survey consisted of managers and engineers of which 56% had over 20 years of experience. These findings illustrated a distinct lack of entry-level or early-career employees.
Due to the lack of pre-professional and college programs, data center managers have found it hard to source employees that have the correct skills to work in data center operations. In fact, 65% of the data center managers surveyed said that they were facing these issues. However, all of that could be changing.
According to a recent AFCOM State of the Data Center Report, 70% of respondents are starting to see younger faces around their facilities. However, 34% are still finding it difficult to hire young people.
Here are some options to make the data center industry more attractive to younger generations:
- Make your workplace more appealing to young people. Consider the fact that younger generations all grew up being connected all the time. They know how to remain productive while using their technology, and oftentimes desire to work remotely.
- Expose young people to the industry before college. Funds need to be allocated to programs that will expose high school and junior high school students to the industry. These programs make the entire industry more visible. Instead of sticking with education focused on basic computer science or networking, there need to be programs that connect these concepts to the data center.
- Increase diversity. Plain and simple, the data center industry is male-dominated and that needs to change. The industry needs to integrate with STEM programs to support and recruit more women into the field, as well as the fact that skills developed in STEM programs will also help with future infrastructure implementations.
We are in a better place than we were last year, but this shift will take time. The changes in sentiment will not happen overnight, and high school programs won’t be funded at the drop of a hat. We need to come together as an aging workforce industry to combat this issue, before all of our employees retire.