The latest survey by Equinix, Inc. revealed, IT leaders in India have serious concerns about talent retention and getting applicants with wrong skillsets.
According to the Equinix 2022 Global Tech Trends Survey, 74% of IT decision-makers in India view shortage of personnel with IT skills as one of the main threats to their business. Companies - including Equinix - are looking to widen the talent pool, bringing in more diverse candidates through alternative recruitment drives. The 2,900 survey respondents around the world acknowledged that the speed at which the tech industry is transforming has left companies struggling to find and retain people with the right skill sets to meet present and future challenges.
In response to skills shortages, many businesses are working hard to reskill human capital from other industries. 86% of Indian IT leaders said they reskill workers from similar industries, while 50% are trying to bolster their workforce with recruits from unrelated sectors. However, recruiting talent is still a challenge. So, with recent layoffs and furlough schemes driving workers to seek opportunities to level up their skills or careers, tech companies offering training and development opportunities could be better positioned to attract talent.
The most common sources of reskilled workers are administration and business support (41%), people returning to work after a period of absence (34%), manufacturing (32%) and educational services (32%). These reskilled workers tend to help businesses bridge the tech skills gaps by working in cloud computing roles (57%), data protection (50%) and as IT technicians (46%).
In India, there is a prominent tech skill gap for IT technicians (38%), followed by professionals with data protection skills (33%) and security software developer (30%). A higher percentage of IT decision-makers in India also identify a skills gap in data protection specialists (33%), as compared to the larger APAC region (24%). Looking into the future, IT decision makers in India also anticipate that the biggest tech skills gap will lie in data protection (30%) in 2025, followed by AI/machine learning (29%), cloud computing (27%) and security administrator (26%). IT leaders also consider retention of current talent (43%), pay and compensation packages for employees (40%) and candidates with the wrong skill sets applying for jobs (40%) as the top three biggest skill challenges their businesses face.
Manoj Paul, Managing Director, Equinix India, shared: “The technology landscape in India is experiencing a war for talent. The survey shows that retention of current talent is reported as the biggest challenge for businesses along with compensation, underqualified applicant pools, need for reskilling for roles that change over time, and a lack of diversity. India has the right environment and ecosystem to support the scale and quality of talent requirements for the industry. Therefore, Equinix set up our Global Center of Excellence (GCoE) in Bengaluru and is in progress of hiring approximately 500 IT professionals in Bengaluru by the end of 2024.
He added: “To address tech skill shortage, enterprises are also looking at outsourcing their IT requirement to cloud service providers, systems integrators and data center service providers like Equinix as other options for overcoming this challenge.”
Keri Gilder, CEO of Colt Technology Services, explained: “Finding the right skills is a real problem in the tech industry, especially on the software side. The reality is that with the softwarization of services, all industries are seeking the same skills. One of the challenges here is a lack of awareness among young talent of the opportunities available within the tech sector. Connectivity providers don’t appear in many use cases - even those at university level - despite all the work being done in areas such as subsea, satellite and fibre. We have to think collaboratively around talent, and work as an industry to bring in more of the diverse skills base waiting for an opportunity.”
Equinix has a collection of career transition programs under its Career Pathways portfolio. These programs are designed to expand and diversify talent pools by drawing candidates 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 program constitutes 40% of field operations hiring globally, sourcing workers from adjacent industries, such as airline, oil and gas, and hospitality, and reskilling them to fill data center roles. Additional programs include the soon-to-launch Invictus, which will focus on hiring SkillBridge veterans disabled due to military service, New To Career, attracting new graduates, and refugee-targeted talent schemes. Collectively, these initiatives are targeted to bring the company more than 750 hires in 2022.
Meanwhile, businesses are also seeking to recruit through higher education and apprenticeship programs. IT leaders in India claim their companies’ main ways of partnering with higher education institutions include outsourcing their company training programs to higher education institutions (56%), offering student grants to those who will join after graduation (56%), offering student internships (53%) and running collaborative training programs with higher education institutions(49%).
According to Brandi Galvin Morandi, Chief Legal and HR Officer at Equinix, “The survey reveals unmatched skill sets are hampering talent acquisition across tech-focused teams globally. There is an overall lack of understanding about the specific skills needed for certain roles, and potential candidates need better guidance around training, preparation, and job opportunities.
“This challenge hands our industry the opportunity to recruit and develop talent in different ways, and this is something we’ve been working to get ahead of in the past few years. We believe companies should foster a progressive talent development roadmap for tech roles that caters for both inexperienced and trained candidates. Another opportunity is mentorship programs - helping potential candidates gain access to an established network for career guidance, while connecting companies with suitable candidates for a robust talent pool. We also encourage higher education and vocational training institutions to work with tech teams within companies to ensure their curriculum imparts the right skills to students and prepares them for their desired careers,” Galvin Morandi added.
Companies should take significant efforts to reskill, upskill and retain the existing talent. Regular training, certifications, and appealing incentives can go a long way in attracting and retaining young and experienced talent. Enterprises should raise awareness and take aggressive steps to tackle the skill gap by devising industry-focused training and career development programs. They should create a robust talent pipeline through partnerships and outreach programs working closely with educational institutes and peer companies.”
To further progress in this area, Equinix recently launched the Equinix Foundation, partnering with organizations to advance digital inclusion, from providing access to technology and connectivity to developing the skills required for technology careers. The Foundation aims to support nonprofits working to prepare individuals of all ages and backgrounds to succeed in today's digital world.