Over the next few days, I'll be doing a series of blog items capsulizing the "Five Bold Predictions" from the recent AFCOM Data Center World Conference. Here's the first:
1. By 2015, the talent pool of qualified senior level technical and management data center professionals will shrink by 45%. A 2002 survey found that 55 percent of data center workers with mainframe experience were at least 50 years old. A January 2006 survey of AFCOM's membership filled out the bleak picture. Among the findings:
38 percent of respondents currently have unfilled positions in their data center. 32 percent said it takes 3 to 6 months to fill a skilled technical or management position in their data center. 12 percent said it takes six months to a year, and 3 percent said it takes a year or more. 40 percent expect it to be "somewhat more difficult" to recuit staff over the next five years, while seven percent expected it to be "significantly more difficult."
Technology and automation were cited as the primary drivers for reduced data center staff, but the aging of the current talent base is a genuine concern, espeically given the trends.
"The fact is, few data centers today have any plan to deal with this problem," said Leonard Eckhaus, founder and President Emeritus of AFCOM. "Half of all data centers have fewer employees than five years ago. With a drop in jobs in the data center, there will be a corresponding drop in young people entering the data center field."