Three partners with SSE Enterprise Telecoms to roll out 5G
Telecommunications company Three has partnered up with one of the UK’s leading connectivity suppliers, SSE Enterprise Telecoms, as a key part of its plans to prepare and deploy its enhanced 4G and 5G networks.
The initial stages of the partnership will see SSE Enterprise updating Three’s communications infrastructure by facilitating fiber optic connections across the firm’s 20 UK-based data centres.
“As a connectivity provider, we understand how integral network infrastructure is to allow technologies like 5G to reach their vast potential,” said Colin Sempill, Managing Director of SSE Enterprise Telecoms. “We’re excited at the opportunity to assist Three UK in its journey to bring unrivalled experiences to its customers while offering new connection options to our own.”
These plans are largely driven by the network’s increasing data demands, with firm having added 900,000 new customers in 2017, alongside a study suggesting that its total 10mn customers use an average 6.8GB of data per month.
“We are putting our network on the best footing possible to meet the current and future demands of consumers,” said Bryn Jones, Chief Technology Officer at Three UK. “Our customers use up to 3.5 times more data than the rest of the UK, a demand which is only going to increase as we move towards a 5G world.”
5G networks are expected to become commercially available in 2020 in the UK, with Three looking to be at the forefront of this connectivity revolution.
The Talent War for Skilled Tech Workers
Post-pandemic, our biggest problem might be a lack of skilled tech talent. As companies move forward with their digital transformation plans, they aim to hire new staff and train their current employees. Out of 750 UK companies polled in a Studio Graphene digital report, 45% plan to hire new tech staff in the next 12 months and more than half (53%) intend to invest in training for their current workers.
Companies are realising that their survival now depends on a limited pool of qualified technology workers. Among the hardest-hit economies are those in Brazil, Indonesia, and Japan, but even the United States and the UK will experience the squeeze. “It’s pure supply and demand”, said Alan Guarino, a Korn Ferry vice-chairman. “Companies are paying more...but there’s still a shortage of high-skilled workers. Technology is the thread that runs across every aspect of business”.
Which Jobs Are In Demand?
According to a 2021 IT salary report by Robert Half Technology, the most in-demand tech jobs of the year include information security professionals, cloud architects, database administrators, systems analysts, and DevOps engineers, among others. But in those fields, it’s difficult to find hires with significant experience, multiple specialisations, and a high level of expertise. And multinationals such as Google, Apple, and IBM usually scoop them up.
Regardless of the exact role, companies need workers who can implement advanced security systems, target cloud and network vulnerabilities, document risk points and failures, and abide by new industry tech regulations. This will likely mean that companies start to take certifications like the ones pioneered by Google and Amazon, instead of insisting on four-year undergraduate degrees.
But even as coding boot camps and year-long certification programmes have ramped up to try to close the gap, smaller tech firms and startups struggle to compete with their bigger counterparts. Remote work doesn’t help matters. “Hire-from-anywhere policies will only heat up a tight candidate market”, said Ryan Sutton, a district president of technology staffing services at Robert Half. “Companies who were already having a hard time recruiting are no longer just working against local competitors, but potentially desirable companies across the country”.
How Can CIOs Solve the Crisis?
As governments try to do their part—Poland offers residency and potential citizenship to skilled tech workers, India offers broad IT, telecommunications, and cybersecurity programmes, and the Netherlands lets its foreign employees earn 30% tax-free income—company executives must take measures of their own.
Some CIOs have started looking to other countries to source expert talent. In the United States, where 80% of U.S. employers state that tech recruiting is a significant challenge, some firms are looking to Mexico, where 20% of college graduates have engineering degrees. As a result, tech companies such as Cisco and Intel have sourced labour from both the U.S. and Mexico.
To compete, here are some first steps:
- Invest in cybersecurity and cloud development training programmes
- Hire based on skills and expertise, not necessarily degrees
- Outsource to other countries with high percentages of skilled engineers and programmers
Overall, companies that broaden their search for talent and upskill their current employees will be best equipped for digital transformation. As Ritam Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene, said: “Our research shows that, on the whole, UK businesses have adopted a long-term mindset [towards] technology and innovation”.