22 Mar 2023
by Gary Aitkenhead

International Data Centre Day 2023: The Hidden Tech Careers of Our Digital Age (Guest blog by Equinix)

Guest blog by Gary Aitkenhead, Senior Vice President, EMEA IBX Operations at Equinix.

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With 67% of UK IT decision-makers viewing a shortage of personnel with IT skills as one of the main threats to their business (Equinix’s 2022 Global Tech Trends Survey[1]), International Data Centre Day presents an opportunity to reflect on the data centre industry’s talent pool and initiatives to inspire and attract the next generation of talent to the industry.

Like many others, before I joined the industry, I wasn’t quite aware of the importance of data centres and how much we depend upon them in our everyday lives. Everything in our digital life, from payments to health tracking to social media to streaming, as well as everything in our working life, is run by systems that sit within data centres, like ours at Equinix. By 2025, almost everyone on the planet is going to have 5,000 interactions every single day[2], and all those interactions are going through data centres like ours.

Equinix’s 2022 Global Tech Trends Survey also found that 61% of UK IT leaders acknowledged the skills shortage has been exacerbated by the speed at which the tech industry is transforming. This transformation has led to an industry-wide skills gap, but it's become particularly acute in operations roles where the rapid pace of change requires the workforce to be constantly upskilled and expanded. To address this at Equinix, we run comprehensive training programmes to ensure our employees have the skills they need, but it’s increasingly difficult to find new recruits with the right skill set. Ultimately, not enough people are aware of the career opportunities within the data centre industry. To help solve this problem, Equinix is looking to widen the talent pool by bringing in more diverse candidates through career transition programmes including a specific initiative that aims to help people from diverse backgrounds, particularly women, return to the workforce after taking a career gap.

Equinix has a collection of career transition programmes under its Career Pathways portfolio. These programmes are designed to expand and diversify talent pools by drawing from careers with transferable skills, such as military veterans transitioning to civilian life, and retired Olympians and Paralympians, through a partnership with Athlete Career Transition (ACT). The career transition reskilling programme constitutes 40% of field operations hiring globally, sourcing workers from adjacent industries, such as airline and hospitality, and reskilling them to fill data centre roles.

Furthermore, last year Equinix launched the Equinix Foundation, focused on the advancement of digital inclusion, from providing access to technology and connectivity, to developing the skills required for technology careers. The Equinix Foundation strives to make a difference in bridging the gender digital divide and has partnered with World Pulse, a women-led global social network, to provide women with access to technology and connectivity while also equipping them with the skills necessary for a career in tech.

There is work to be done to continue to raise awareness of this fascinating industry and alert people to perhaps the biggest tech careers pool they’ve never heard of!

[1] https://www.equinix.co.uk/resources/infopapers/equinix-tech-trends-survey

[2] https://www.seagate.com/www-content/our-story/trends/files/idc-seagate-dataage-whitepaper.pdf

Join us at our next techUK webinar:  What the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) mean for your commercial properties. For the past few years, energy efficiency is becoming a focal point for businesses and policymakers. This includes the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), which since 2018 has regulated new lettings of commercial properties based on buildings’ Energy Performance Certificate ratings. Join techUK, legal counsel from CMS and CBRE for this one-hour webinar to learn how the changes to MEES might affect you, what are the exemptions, compliance and enforcement of MEES, and what this means for the letting of commercial properties for industries such as data centres.  Learn more here.

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Gary Aitkenhead

Gary Aitkenhead

Senior Vice President, EMEA IBX Operations , Equinix

Gary Aitkenhead | LinkedIn