My last column focused on employer challenges relating to the increased demand for the decreasing supply of qualified talent in the data center marketplace. This market situation presents a tremendous growth opportunity and responsibility for experienced data center professionals.
In the executive search business, most conversations start with “Let’s talk about your situation and interests.” It is surprising the disparity of answers to and perspectives on this question. How many of you take inventory of your skill sets and compare them to those of your supervisors, peers, colleagues, and direct reports? Let’s put the perspective of situation and interests in the context of the demographic, market, and organizational imperatives I discussed in my last column.
Employers believe that the supply of experienced data center professionals is not adequate to meet the growing demand. This apparent unmet demand creates two distinct opportunities for industry professionals.
The current situation provides plenty of opportunities for professionals to expand their skills and to have a bigger impact in their current organizations. The trick here is to be proactive; recognize what talent gaps exist in your work teams, in your divisions, and across the organization as a whole; and endeavor to fill them. As the data center industry matures, employers will increasingly like to see obvious convergences of qualifications. Individuals with broader skill sets are likely to emerge to lead teams, divisions, and business lines. As new talent is brought on board to help fill work functions, cross-functional knowledge, and capabilities will put you in leadership and mentoring roles.
Whoa … you’ve suddenly become that manager you loathed! Take care to handle the privilege better!
Additionally, as an experienced data center professional, you have the opportunity to recruit your friends and colleagues in other businesses into the growing data center industry. Contrary to common perception, not many people are aware of the data center industry. It is indeed a new darling, with capital flowing in and reinforcing a bullish future, at least in the near term. Where else do you hear about new organizations being created, existing organizations expanding, and a healthy acquisitions appetite?
We need to promote the industry as a whole to a talent base that may not know about the “growth engine of the new economy.” A simple point to their smart phones with applications, pictures, music, and streaming data galore using consumer applications should help make the point about the future. You can point out that these applications represent less than 1 percent of the data storage and transfer requirements in the world today.