Growing Demand for Data Centre Talent and Expertise in the UK

The rapid expansion of data centres has ignited a competition for talent, as covered in a recent Green Street News article where Luke Mariosa, our Senior Consultant for Data Centre real estate recruitment, contributed his market insights.

With the UK’s new Labour government announcing plans to further invest in data centre infrastructure, this topic becomes ever more pressing as data centre recruitment in Investment, Construction, Engineering, Project Management, Operations and Asset Management will need to ramp up in due course.

As outlined in the article, titled ‘Data centre boom sparks war for talent’, global data centre investment has significantly increased, with $22 billion invested since the beginning of 2024, $7 billion of which in Europe.

This influx of capital has driven a boom in the establishment of new businesses and the expansion of existing platforms, leading to an unprecedented demand for skilled professionals to transition and build experience in this asset class.

Recruitment and Remuneration Surge

Luke notes that candidates applying for positions in data centres are often surprised by the competitive offers they receive.

 

“Candidates have expressed surprise at the competitive offers they are receiving, acknowledging that they never anticipated such generous compensation.”

 

This is due to the fact that the rapid expansion of data centres has created a significant demand for talent, leading companies to offer higher salaries to attract and retain skilled professionals.

From our latest survey research, those that primarily work with Data Centres command some of the highest salaries, with the median across the UK at £84,000 with an average eligible bonus at 108% of their annual salary.

The scarcity of experienced candidates in the data centre sector has further intensified this competition, prompting employers to present attractive compensation packages to entice individuals from other backgrounds.

 

Browse all our current data centre job opportunities

 

Expanding the Talent Pool

Data centres sit firmly between infrastructure and real estate sectors, providing a unique environment where professionals from diverse fields can transition into the industry. This position within both sectors opens up numerous opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Those that come from industrial and logistics backgrounds, for example, can find many transferable skills in working with data centres. Professionals that possess transferable skills and expertise, are now being considered viable candidates. This approach not only broadens the talent pool but also gives the industry a fresh perspective.

Despite the new opportunities, however, it seems some professionals are cautious about entering the sector, likely worried about the technical demands of data centres, as noted by Knight Frank’s global head of data centres.

Another strategy aside from expanding the talent pool, involves investing in training programmes to address the skills gap which exist in the data centre sector.

This point is highlighted by Luke:

 

“The data centre market can address the challenges of an under supplied experienced candidate pool through various strategies aimed at both recruitment and retention. Firstly, there's a concerted effort to invest in training and education programs tailored to the specific skill sets required in the data centre industry. This includes partnering with academic institutions to develop curriculum focused on data centre management, networking, cybersecurity, and other relevant areas. Additionally, companies within the data centre sector often provide attractive incentives and benefits to attract and retain talent. This can include competitive salaries, comprehensive benefits packages, opportunities for career advancement, and a supportive work environment.”

Valuable Skills and Cross-Sector Transitions

As data centres scale up, site acquisition becomes key, often requiring director-level roles.

While data centre experience is preferred, there is significant potential for professionals from sectors such as logistics to transition into these roles due to their relevant expertise in supply chain management, site selection, and operational efficiency.

The limited pool of candidates with direct data centre experience means employers are increasingly open to hiring from diverse backgrounds, a point that is noted by Luke:

 

“Clients are now more receptive to considering candidates without a data centre background."

 

Furthermore, professionals with proven relationships with hyperscalers (companies that operate large-scale data centres) and strong networks within enterprise businesses are particularly valued.

Government Support and Future Prospects

Data centres offer numerous career opportunities for property professionals. The growing demand for talent and the shortage of experienced candidates make this an opportune time for professionals to make the switch.

The UK’s new Labour government’s commitment to investing in data centre infrastructure underscores the sector’s importance and potential for growth.

As the industry continues to expand, the demand for skilled professionals will only increase, presenting more opportunities for those willing to transition.

Key takeaways:

The booming data centre industry in the UK is driving a heightened demand for talent, leading employers to seek professionals from a variety of backgrounds. This trend, coupled with the new Labour government support, makes the sector an attractive option for those looking to transition from other fields and capitalise on the growing need for skilled workers.

At Macdonald & Company, we bring over 30 years of expertise in real estate recruitment. Our dedicated team of consultants works closely with you to future-proof your team, including securing candidates who excel in a data centre environment. We understand the specific requirements for success in these roles, whether candidates have direct experience or transferable skills from related fields, ensuring you always have the right team in place.

 

Schedule a call with Luke

For more personalised recruitment advice, or if you are considering opportunities to transition into the sector, arrange a friendly call with Luke Mariosa.

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