IT skills gap has led to a 'talent war’, says Rackspace CEO

By Sooraj Shah
24 Feb 2012 View Comments

A shortage of candidates with the necessary skills for a career in IT has led to major technology companies being embroiled in a "talent war", according to Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier.

The cloud service provider is looking to recruit 350 staff for its UK offices in Hayes and Slough to add to 800 staff who already work in the UK.

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Napier told Computing that his firm's drive to recruit 350 new staff is being hampered by a shortage of suitable candidates and intense competition from other technology firms looking to recruit staff.

"There's a lot of poaching. Technology companies say ‘let's go and target this company and hire their people'. Rackspace do hire people from other companies but in the long-run, to solve our talent needs we need to develop people ourselves.

"So we're looking harder at getting people right out of university, investing in training programmes, hiring people from other industries and investing in them with the right training and development programmes," he said.

Taylor Rhodes, managing director at Rackspace, said that the company gets many applications from candidates who have good IT degrees but still lack an adequate knowledge of core operating systems and cloud computing.

Napier said that Rackspace is trying to combat this problem by collaborating with UK universities and attempting to get specific cloud computing platform training on the curriculum.

He said that to help all of its staff acquire the necessary skills, it has an in-house "Rackspace University" in which it trains its staff in both technical or managerial skills.

As part of the training, the company offers qualifications that are recognised throughout the industry.

"We offer recognised qualifications such as Cisco certified engineer and Red Hat certified engineer certificates. So in addition to developing skills for Rackspace there's also industry standard skill sets that people can develop along the way," he said.

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