AI, big data, cloud computing and the IoT are the buzz words amid the irresistible digital transformation. However, the ICT industry has one huge problem: talent shortage.
Growing Pains: A Shortage of Quality ICT Talent
Our world is expected to be much more connected over the next 20-30 years, and the ICT industry needs powerful brains with innovative ideas and technological capacities to drive the transformation. Enterprises will hunt for talents of multi-dimensional skills to stay ahead, but the gap is huge to close. For instance, an empirica working paper showed that Europe's labour market could absorb another 756,000 ICT practitioners in 2020 if only there were sufficient supply.
The skill mismatch between what the talent pool can provide and what the industry needs is complicating matters. The emerging technologies like AI, big data, cloud computing, and IoT are drawing a lot of attention. According to World Economic Forum, the skills gaps in ICT sectors are happening and widening in ever shorter cycles. Enterprises will be adopting 19 mainstream technology skills, but the most wanted are user and entity big data analytics (85%), App- and Web-enabled markets(75%), Internet of things(75%), machine learning(73%), and cloud computing(72%). While not as hot as these top five, other skills sets such as digital trade, AR/VR, and encryptions, etc., are well sought after.
So, there are two key questions to address: How to develop talent to meet the industry's ever-growing demand? How to quickly groom talent to meet that demand with the urgency required?
Tackling Talent Shortage: Building a Talent Ecosystem
Huawei highly appreciates talent. Of Huawei's 188,000 employees, 45 percent are involved in innovation and R&D. Indeed, Huawei has been building an open, collaborative, and mutually beneficial ecosystem for talent, fostering their growth and thus supporting the industry, while sharing the experience by collaborating with partners, schools, organizations, and governments. Through its talent ecosystem strategy, Huawei helps set standards, build alliance, and promote the value of talent.
Setting Talent Standards: Huawei Certification provides an industry-leading ICT talent development standard and an overall architecture for certification, covering various industry domains and aspects such as infrastructure, platform and service, and vertical development. There are three levels of certifications, namely: Associate, Professional, and Expert, based on previous experience and technical requirements. With 100 exams across 22 technical categories, this program certified more than 250,000 professionals globally by the end of 2019.
Building a Talent Alliance: Huawei has been actively expanding the network with enterprises and schools - it now spans across more than 900 universities and colleges around the world, including Polytech Nice Sophia in France, Henley Business School in the UK, and the University of Alicante in Spain. Through the program, more than 45,000 students benefit from teaching materials, training, lab construction and certification annually.
Huawei also works with partners to provide training and certification services for professionals worldwide. By the end of 2019, there are more than 110 Huawei Authorized Learning Partners (HALPs) globally, and 4,700 Huawei certification exam centers in 183 countries and regions.
In emerging technology domains, Huawei establishes various talent development programs with partners to address the talent shortage. More than 10,000 Huawei AI certifications will be given to students, while over 10,000 big data scientists will become certified experts over the next three years. Over 200,000 professionals will become specialists of Kunpeng processors and GaussDB, intelligent computing, and AI in five years.
Since 2018, nine data textbooks have been developed by Huawei with professors, tech experts and editors. 12 more on IoT and eight on AI will be published in 2020.
Showcasing Talent Value: Innovations must be seen, and Huawei facilitates this by hosting various international ICT competitions, allowing talent to showcase their skills and ideas to industry leaders. More than 100,000 students of some 1,600 universities from 61 countries participated Huawei ICT Competition 2018-2019 in May 2019. The event of this year will likely draw more than 150,000 participants to attend from over 70 countries.
The end-to-end Huawei Talent Platform, meanwhile, provides a better experience for various types of global users, helping learners to improve their capabilities and assisting them with career development by offering a one-stop service. All these can help build a pool of talent, who can be well prepared and give the right support to the enterprises.
Huawei's strategy that links platform and ecosystem together requires the pool of talent. By 2024, Huawei aims to have built a vibrant ICT talent ecosystem and developed more than one million industry professionals. This is also to support Huawei's TECH4ALL digital inclusion initiative to help more people benefit from digital technology than ever before.
After all, it is the talent, rather than machines, that keeps us connected. And Huawei is ensuring that right people will be in place for the change.
Bradd Feng is Director of Global Talent Ecosystem Development Department of Huawei Enterprise Business Group. The Talent Ecosystem Development Dept is dedicated to popularizing digital skills, promoting talent cultivation, and promoting the talent ecosystem