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November 27, 2015updated 23 Aug 2016 11:05am

Data centre recruitment hindered by industry recognition

C-level briefing: Peter Hannaford MD at Datacenter People calls for industry recognition and data centre university degrees.

By Joao Lima

There are 750,000 people working in the data centre industry. From engineers to managers, having the right staff on board is critical in keeping the business running.

With a booming industry currently in the midst of massive consolidation, Peter Hannaford MD at Datacenter People, saw the niche opportunity in 2010 to set up a head-hunter organisation that finds staff for data centres all around the world.

"I set this company just as the data centre market was exploding. We do not find jobs for people, we find people for companies. It is actually quite a sexy industry."

Having been in the data centre industry for nearly 40 years, Hannaford has seen the sector evolve and grow as IT demands increased.

With "IoT being the one thing we are suddenly making more useful," data centre demand is at an all time high from cloud-hungry customers that want to run their services and applications in the digital era. However, skilled people play a big part in this.

"We have to simplify. It should not be complicated, and that is how we get innovation. The evolution of the data centre is very interesting, especially storage, look how small it is now."

While evolution is an interesting topic, Hannaford said that the data centre space still lacks on industry recognition.

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"Even if you go on LinkedIn for example, you want to put your industry in, and there is no data centre.

"There should also be more done in universities. There should be more done to recognise the industry. It is not a recognised industry.

"There should be university degrees directly related to data centres."

But what makes the candidate for a data centre job? Hannaford said:

"There is things like behaviour and intellect, values which cannot be changed. Experience you can always learn. The best thing is to get a nice mix, with a bit of experience and the ability to learn. That will give you a great person.

"In our industry is all about innovation. You can get the best guy in the industry, he can design really good data centres, but the last site looks like the one he designed before.

"There would only be a change if he threw out everything he learned, which he cannot."

Whilst data centres still need recognition, delivering fresh blood into the industry is sometimes hard because "people just move around, it is difficult to get in".

"Most people want people with experience. I can only think of one job where the client said he did not want anybody with data centre experience so the new person could bring in new ideas.

"You never get innovation in this business unless you change things, hire new people and they will come up with some brilliant ideas."


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