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As new and revolutionary technologies and IT strategies continue to emerge at breakneck speed, businesses across the IT and telecommunications spheres are facing a key setback: a strain on the supply of vital talent. As the foundation for any successful business, talent (and the lack thereof) is a ‘make or break’ asset. Especially as competition grows, not having knowledgeable employees on hand to support the integration and transformation of technology can spell disaster, forcing businesses to fall behind relative to their competitors. 

To discuss how to overcome this challenge and prepare for successful digital transformation,  the NEDAS Live! Podcast welcomed Carrie Charles, CEO of BroadStaff, a national staffing firm that specializes in supplying talent to the telecommunications industry. Hosted by Ilissa Miller, President of NEDAS and CEO of iMiller Public Relations, and Steve Yapsuga, Co-Chair of the NEDAS Advisory Council and North American Director of Sales for Comba Telecom, the podcast began by discussing how the telecommunications and technology industries are still relatively new. Having been created only around 30 years ago with the birth of the internet, the drive for mass digitization has happened so quickly, which explains the strain on key resources. 

Charles notes that the increasingly challenging quest for talent is something that everyone is becoming exposed to or affected by. When it comes to finding and attracting the highly skilled individuals that keep next-generation operational frameworks and strategies up and running, the task is only getting harder. With small cells and wireless and wireline convergence, new jobs are being created that the workforce has never even heard of before. Charles notes that tower climbers, technicians and any title that includes the term ‘fiber’ are becoming scarce. 

When asked what her advice would be to the NEDAS community, a grassroots association located at the intersection of wireline and wireless with a goal of improving communications infrastructure, Charles comments that seeking out training is paramount. Even if companies are not currently paying for talent training, getting out there and acquiring the skills now will serve any individual in the space. She adds that the word ‘telecom’ may not even exist in five years, as it may be replaced with just the term ‘technology’, but being prepared for that shift in digital transformation will add huge amounts of value across the space. Miller adds to this, noting that there has been a change in the mentality of finishing schooling and then never returning. In the spirit of learning and adapting, the industry is seeing more and more professionals going back to learn and explore the newer facets of technology in an educational setting. 

Education outlets and opportunities can be found in apprenticeships, in developing training programs within some forward-thinking companies and even within universities that are seeing this push for new skills. New certification programs are cropping up throughout the industry as well. 

When it comes to hiring, the truth is that set practices that businesses have used for years may need to adapt as well. The podcast crew discussed the importance of transferable skills in the contemporary hiring landscape and how they may be the only way for businesses to get the talent that is necessary. Another new talent acquisition method that is showing promise is hiring for grit and training for skill. Although strategies may vary, it’s clear that in order to support the new waves of digital transformation, flexibility, adaptability and persistence is key. 

To read the previous blog about NEDAS Live! Episode four, please click here

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