CyrusOne News and Blog

CyrusOne aims to stem the skills gap tide

March 9, 2023

Imagine being the quarterback of an NFL team and being asked to throw a 60-yard touchdown strike to a double-covered wide receiver running toward a goal line that’s moving further away. Hiring the next generation of data center talent is a bit like that. 

The global data center industry faces an ever-widening skills gap while customer demand for its services only grows. At times in recent years, CyrusOne has found it difficult to find qualified applicants for positions across the company, including service delivery, facilities, and customer success jobs. Part of the challenge is finding people with the right technical skills, at least at the fundamental level. Another part is making sure to continue to develop skills within the employee base to find opportunities to promote from within. 

According to online industry trade publication Data Center Knowledge, this skills gap is “the fallout of an industry that initially did little to recruit and retain from a broader applicant pool. Now the industry is facing an older workforce expected to retire in the next 10 years and employees who, according to a recent survey conducted by Data Center Knowledge, say they don’t have the necessary training or information needed to advance in their jobs.” 

CyrusOne aims to change that in a variety of ways. 

We partner with Association for Computer Operations Management (AFCOM), which aims to help bridge the skills gap by advancing data center and IT infrastructure professionals through delivering comprehensive and vendor-neutral education and peer-to-peer networking to its members. CyrusOne is committed to workplace training and development and seeks to renew the talent pipeline and boost recruitment, showing potential job candidates data center careers that offer genuinely rewarding career paths with high-paying salaries. We joined the AFCOM Potomac Chapter’s Dallas-Fort Worth Golf Outing last year to raise money to fund three internships at CyrusOne. 

AFCOM interns Chris Martin, Banita Rajbhandari, and Mitchel Rifea each spent several weeks with CyrusOne in summer of 2022, learning the ins and outs of different roles within the data center industry and gaining valuable experience for future careers. In fact, we were excited to see that Chris recently joined JLL and is on their account team serving CyrusOne. We look forward to hosting more interns in the coming years.  

We also have partnered with University Technical College Heathrow (UTC Heathrow) and techUK to create the first Data Center UTC in the UK, as part of the recently launched Digital Futures Program. UTC Heathrow redesigned its existing curriculum to allow students to gain the essential knowledge and skills needed to thrive in technical careers within the data center industry. CyrusOne serves as a key partner to help to define the syllabus. We also deliver content, teach, and provide work experience placements and apprenticeship training. 

It’s the first time that mainstream education and the data center industry have worked together to provide a clearly defined and repeatable path into the sector. It will increase the number of students with diverse STEM skills to meet the industry’s technical needs for talent, raise awareness and position the sector as a career destination of choice. 

The annual Digital Futures Program intake is limited to 100 students at age 14, and 150 students studying the Level 3 engineering curriculum. Younger students will compete in industry-led Challenge Days, develop employability skills, and receive masterclasses to bring subjects to life, alongside studying for their GCSEs. Meanwhile, older students will complete team projects within the curriculum and benefit from building impactful relationships with industry professionals. Students will leave UTC Heathrow with a BTEC Level 3 National Diploma/Extended Diplomas in Engineering and Aeronautical Engineering. 

Additionally, we extend internships for related fields. Working with our law firm BakerHostetler, we have hosted interns to help educate the next generation of lawyers who might have an interest in working in the data center industry on the corporate legal side. 

Lastly, CyrusOne works hard to attract and retain talent, which includes our efforts to have an outstanding, diverse team. We regularly assess and analyze local market total rewards to ensure the compensation we offer is competitively attracting employees. Our data center employees’ compensation is based on individual and company performance. We leverage technology to engage with professional online networks and people, enabling us to target qualified candidates and make it easy for them to apply for employment. Ultimately, we seek smart people who are a perfect fit to work in our client-centric culture. 

As the world faces economic headwinds, the data industry represents a shelter from the storm with double-digit growth year after year and ever-growing demand for its services.