“Instead of focusing on the competition, focus on the customer.”​

“Instead of focusing on the competition, focus on the customer.” Scott Cook

When we formed DataX Connect it was all built upon a vision of wanting to provide something different, we didn’t want to be ‘just another recruitment company’.

In any service industry you have good and bad, and we all know that it tends to be the bad experiences that stand out more than the good. How could we create a company that is remembered for the positive experiences?

The answer was trust.

‘Trust has to be the highest value in your company, and if it’s not, something bad is going to happen to you’. Marc Benioff

When I spoke with our customers about what they wanted from a recruitment company it all pointed back to honesty and trust. They didn’t want the bulls*it sales chat, they wanted the truth. They wanted to be educated, to be advised, to be collaborative, it was all about forming a genuine relationship and those relationships had to be built upon a foundation of trust.

It is great having the vision to build a business based on trust but how do you implement it?

You have to have a top down approach. If the leaders don’t believe in the vision then it will never be a success.

‘Your words and deeds must match if you expect employees to trust in your leadership.’ – Kevin Kruse.

You have to recruit people that match your vision. Don’t look for people that you can mould to your vision, find people that share your values and your DNA. These people will be the ones that are fronting your vision to your customers.

You have to be relentless. A vision isn’t simply writing on the wall. It has to be engrained in your processes. Every action you make will be because of your vision.

How are we doing?

We are not the finished the article.

We seek to improve every day.

We learn every day.

But what I can say is that our business is built upon these foundations. The way we act, the way we operate, the decisions we make, they are all based on trust.

We advise our customers.

We are honest with our customers.

We refuse to accept bulls*it.

We trust our employees.

‘If you don’t have trust inside your company, then you can’t transfer it to your customers.’ – Roger Staubach 

It isn’t about making the most money from our clients or getting our candidates the role that gives us the biggest fee. We want to be known as the company that provides the best service: a company that you can trust to make the right decisions for you.

We work with clients that match our values.

We find candidates the best opportunity for them.

And we are honest that we can’t help everyone.

When a customer calls me to say how great our service has been I know we are going in the right direction.

It may be a sales industry, but to be the best you need to provide an exceptional service.

‘Being trustworthy requires: Doing the right thing. And doing things right.’ – Don Peppers. 

The journey continues..

Data Centre Dynamics talks with Andy Davis

As we all may know  by now, Andy Davis – Director of DataX Connect – has created a successful weekly podcast to showcase the data centre industry and what it’s like to work inside it. From time to time though, he can be seen (or heard) on other people’s podcasts and chats, sharing his knowledge and understanding of this growing industry. Data Centre Dynamics sat down with Andy to talk recruitment, in an engaging 20 minute video that can be watched here.

Maybe you are curious about the skills shortage, what the industry is looking for, and how to improve diversity and awareness. Or do you want to know what skills are easily transferrable, or if you’re already in the industry, hear what Andy wants the industry to be aware of. This is well worth a listen to in order to gain insight into data centres as Vlad and Andy discuss how he got into data centres and how others can do the same. There are a lot of opportunities available but making people aware of these is one of the major challenges being faced at the moment, with a new push towards making sure more people know just what is out there.

Following the talk, DCPro created a blog to highlight the skills shortage, using Andy’s insider knowledge to see its effects on the Data Centre Industry. An interesting read that can be found here, giving you a more in depth viewpoint of the jobs, skills, and expectations of businesses. Knowing how the sector is run and what companies are doing to grow and retain a vital workforce shows the flourishing opportunities that are being provided; helping you to visualise a rewarding career.

There are a lot of job roles available and looking to hire the right candidates, and our wonderful DataX team can connect you with the right employer and the chance to start on a successful career path. With international connections and clients searching for their ideal fit, it could be you working in a constantly expanding industry which we rely on more and more.

Our trusted recruitment agency is filled with a very experienced and friendly team that are ready to start you on your journey. Learn more about data centres or expand your current experience with our range of positions that want filling. Call the team on 01489888499 (UK) or visit the website to find more ways of contacting us!

When the best time to look for a new opportunity is – December vs January

Tomorrow marks the 1st of December which means we’re officially coming towards the end of another weird and wonderful 12 months, as 2021 rather hastily draws to a close.

I’ve always thought of this time of year to be one of the best times to look at the options for a new position – in terms of the market, personal reflection, and planning for the next 12 months ahead (and beyond) – and whilst some will be thinking about whether to bite the bullet & do something about it now, others will prefer to wait until January.

If moving jobs is something you’re considering exploring in the near future but don’t know when to put the wheels in motion, I’ve put together some thoughts on the different reasons for looking at the end of this year vs the start of next…


✔ It’s a candidate market – people are getting multiple interviews and gaining multiple offers

Having CHOICE and being able to look into the detail of what the company offers, what your role will entail, the opportunities for you to progress, how the package stacks up and what the environment you’ll be working in will be like, allows you to consider various options and pick the one you think is best for you.

 ✔ Remuneration & packages are at an all-time high

Engineers in Building Services Design / Data Centres are increasing their basic salary by an average of 15-30% by moving jobs at the moment.

 Not only that, what companies are offering as total compensation is improving, how much ‘richer’ could you be with added benefits of a bonus scheme, car allowance, better pension contributions, private healthcare, tailored working from home options – be it fully remote, 1 day in 4 days WFH, 5 days in the office, an even split – whatever suits you can likely be accommodated somewhere.

  ✔ Good companies are putting together their plans for the New Year, now.

You stay ahead of the game, or you fall behind it. Well run companies are strategic and their recruitment plans are around growth, rather than back-filling a vacancy after someone has handed their notice in in January. Do you want to be joining the ambitious company who have identified a need for you, and will have a plan for how you will develop with them, or do you want to be lured into one that has just had an unexpected tender win that they suddenly don’t have enough resource for, so are looking for a ‘doer’ to fill a gap. 

✖ Too many plates to spin right now

I’ll be honest, as much as I love December, it’s a bloody stressful time of year.

I’m currently trying to find a fancy-dress outfit, a work Christmas party outfit, another outfit for a Christmas ball, I’ve been trying to buy everyone’s Christmas presents whilst they’re still in the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales AND it’s still one of the busiest periods of the year for recruitment.

I don’t blame you if you’re struggling to find time to juggle updating your CV alongside your end of year workload, present buying, present wrapping, nights out, catching up with friends, Winter Wonderland, and drinking copious amounts of hot chocolate and/or mulled wine every weekend…

I feel ya.

✖ Don’t know where to start

It’s daunting. Especially on top of all of the above.

Looking for a new job, particularly if it’s something you’ve either never done or not done for a while, can be scary. You don’t know who to speak to, what to expect, who to trust or whether you will be able to find something that ticks the right boxes.

As recruiters, we should be able to give you some good insight into the market, so hopefully this isn’t something you should really have to worry about. You just need to have that initial conversation to open things up.

✖ Things might get better where I am after my EOY review

If they’re any good, your current employer will be making/have made plans for 2022. Maybe your role will change, you’ll get that promotion you’ve been waiting for, you’ll get the pay-rise, or at least you’ll have the chance to speak up about what’s concerning you…


 ✔ New year, new me

 ✔ ‘More’ companies will be hiring (really?!)

 ✔ Take a step back, away from the pressures of your every day and reflect on what you really want to achieve from moving companies

 ✔ Take your time updating your CV over the Christmas break

 ✔ Hiring Managers are back from annual leave

 ✔ Still get your December bonus*

 *if you don’t have to pay it back if you leave within x amount of months

 ✖ Increased candidate competition – more people will use January to look for a new role if it’s something they’re thinking of

 ✖ You’re more likely to sit and ‘wait it out’ where you are currently despite not being happy

 ✖ Time waits for no man/woman – that company that would be PERFECT for you might be hiring now. If you don’t know about it or explore it now, the opportunity may not be around in January

So December vs January job hunting…

The result?

There’s no one size fits all and it will depend on you and your own personal situation.

But whichever you think is best and whenever you feel is right for you, let’s start speaking so you know what your options are and can feel confident and prepared in how to approach your search when the time comes.

Drop me a message, email your CV to [email protected]om or give me a call on 01489888499.

Addressing the Data Centre talent shortage. Are we doing enough?

By far and away the question I get asked the most by our customers (client and candidate) is “How’s the market looking for engineers?”. Sounds like an innocuous question, right? This is what I usually thought too. But after being asked this question and then having the same conversation with a dozen hiring managers just this week so far it made me stop and actually think about it.

The facts are pretty clear. The market is busier than it ever has been before. I could name you 10+ companies that are looking for engineers right now. I could also name you several projects where new sites are under construction and talent attraction plans are being built out. But one thing that is becoming more and more apparent is the pool of good quality engineers is getting smaller and of that pool less and less are wanting to move.

Don’t just take my word for it. The Uptime Institute released their first global staffing report earlier this year: ‘The people challenge: Global data center staffing forecast 2021-2025’. The report highlighted the challenges we face over the next five years (link at the end of the article) and came to the same conclusion that growth will reach all-time highs and that the current pool of engineers is nowhere near enough to accommodate.

In another article from DCD’s Graeme Burton (link at the end of the article), he summed up nicely our current state with the “Age-Old problem” within the industry where “veterans are retiring but who is going to replace them?”.

The more important question for me and the people I speak to is, “Are we, as an industry, doing enough to solve this problem?” 

In my experience so far, the industry is massively disjointed in its approach. Some companies are trying some good initiatives but I’m a firm believer that we could be doing so much more.

Related industries

We have seen with the recent pandemic a real change in the visibility of Data Centres. All of a sudden, these secret hidden-away buildings have become big news and as more and more people hear of the industry, we have a great opportunity to bring high quality engineers over from other related industries such as, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, production, aviation & ex-forces engineers all have heavily transferrable skills. We are beginning to see more of these engineers take up roles within the DC market but there is still a block with a number of companies who struggle to come to terms with the idea they made need to hire someone without direct Data Centre experience. We need to open up our thinking and work on way to attract and then retain these engineers. They will be the ones who can most quickly replace the current crop of experienced and nearing retirement engineers.

Attracting the next generation

This is an area that up until recently was practically impossible to do when the market was so secretive and so hidden. We are seeing some of the particularly large companies offering courses or qualifications for younger people or apprenticeship and graduate programmes being rolled out. But it is so sporadic across the industry. We have a real opportunity now to grasp the attention of the younger generation. Data Centres are more prominent in young people’s lives with the explosion of social media, popularity of green initiatives (such as electric cars) and even online gaming all fully dependant on Data Centres to store their Data. Now is the time to educate and open the industry up to the next generation. Every single company should already be thinking about and implementing strategies in this area so we can ensure that longer term things will be secure.

Diversity & inclusion

There is very much still that macho construction feel about the Data Centre sector. The industry is historically heavily dominated by white males (like me!) and more has to be done to change that perception and attract people of all genders and backgrounds. This is not something that can be fixed quickly, perceptions take time to change but companies must act now to ensure that their culture is an appropriately open one. Longer term the focus has to be on educating our youngsters on the industry and demonstrating that all are welcome and will have the same opportunities regardless of sex, ethnicity or background. There are some companies leading the way here but again more can still be done to diversify our workforce and open it up to as many people as possible, while importantly not excluding and discriminating against those already within it. 

We can do more…

I am firmly of the belief that more can be done to help. In the short term with clients thinking more outside of the box and being more flexible with their requirements. In the medium term with an adjusting of company culture to feel more welcoming and inclusive. And finally in the long term with education and outreach programmes to attract the engineers of tomorrow. 

It’s possible but only if we all pull together. In the words of my colleague, Sam Denham (stolen from Nigel Adkins, ex-Southampton FC manager), “Together as One”.

You can download the Uptime Institute report here – https://link.uptimeinstitute.com/jBrI0225R005B0o0AZ80n00

You can read the DCD report here – https://www.datacenterdynamics.com/en/marketwatch/data-center-builders-facing-age-old-problem-retirement-youth-recruitment/

Written by Ben Palmer, Sector Lead FM & Operations

Contact him Here

How best to recruit within the Data Centre market. Are we doing it right?

To properly answer this question, we need to rewind a little bit. I’ve been in the recruitment industry now for the best part of five years and Data Centres specifically for the majority of that time. Like most recruiters out there I would consider myself an extrovert. I like to think I am personable and easy to talk to. However, one thing that is not as commonly found (in my experience) is I am a critical thinker and a very reflective person (and not just in terms of my rather large and shiny forehead).

I come from a customer service/management background working for companies that encouraged creative thinking in solving problems and a major part of that has always been reflecting on the past. One thing that has really challenged me during my time recruiting is how difficult it is to do this. A combination of the fast-paced nature of this industry giving you little time to sit back and take stock along with the fact that asking for feedback on the recruitment process itself is for some reason a seemingly taboo subject.

In my time I have tried a number of different ways of recruiting – contingent (multi-agency), exclusive (sole agency) and over the last 12-18 months retained (partnership working). I’ve been thinking about whether we are going about recruiting for our sector in the right way. So, let’s break it down.

Below are my top 5 tips (in no particular order) for companies and even my fellow recruiters on how best to recruit in this market.

1. Know your Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

However, you choose to set up your recruitment function the most important thing is making sure you deliver a consistent and appealing message to your given talent pool. Everyone wants to be part of a story and yes, a job move might not be as exciting as a character arc in a superhero movie, but everyone wants to see themselves going on a journey and achieving their potential. Almost every Data Centre company I deal with are embarking on a period of significant growth so get that message out there. Ask yourselves where you see the business in 3-5 years and what this particular position you are looking for will do to help get you there. Even if right now your particular company or site are going through some challenges share those and make the talent pool aware of what you are going through and why, usually (and hopefully) it is to get to a better place once through it. The companies that I most enjoy working with and that are most successful in recruiting top talent have this nailed down.

2. Refine your process, then refine it some more and some more… (you get the point)

The marketplace is becoming an increasingly competitive one. With an only growing need for more Data Centre professionals there is nothing that will lose you more candidates than a lengthy and pointlessly drawn-out process. An interview process is often a window into seeing how a company operates. What does yours say about you? What would it say to a candidate if your interview process is long winded and filled with pointless additional stages and unnecessary tests? With the emergence and increasing normality associated with video interviewing it is now easier than ever to have a quick and simple process. The days of 5+ interview stages over many months should (in theory) be over.

3. In-house vs External

I’m sure the expectation here would be for me to bash any in-house approach but having worked within both systems I won’t be doing that. I have come across some excellent in-house recruiters and recruitment functions and also continue to hear horror stories of poor practice from other agencies that operate in the Data Centre space, so this is never going to be a clear-cut answer. In my experience no matter your set up, things are generally smoother if you have someone internally dedicated to recruitment (and by dedicated to recruitment ideally, I don’t mean someone who has a huge amount of other HR responsibilities with recruitment added on at the end!). Given the size of the industry now, the volume of roles that are often looked for and the hugely competitive marketplace with a diminishing pool of qualified candidates I do not see any way to function without the need for specialist external support in some capacity moving forward.

4. Contingent v Exclusive v Retained

When I first started out, I worked extensively in the contingent way. Roles were given out to multiple agencies with the belief that the more agencies that worked a role the more access you would get to the market. It has been clear to me that this doesn’t work in Data Centres. All that ends up happening is mixed messages sent to the marketplace and agencies squabbling over candidates. I quickly transitioned to working with key clients on an exclusive basis. This often came from the point of being a trusted contact who they knew would deliver and most importantly had access to candidates others didn’t due to our specialising in the market. Whilst this worked well there was still no guarantee of success and it felt like something was lacking.

I then undertook some training on the Retained model. I’ve utilised that way of working ever since for any roles that are more challenging (senior hires, multiple needs or historic needs that had proven impossible to fill). The feedback from my clients has been amazing. The sector as a whole does seem to be moving away from contingent for the most part and I think that is for the best. Those that are still recruiting contingently I know are finding it harder than everyone else. 

5. Supplier vs Partner

For me this is the area that I have seen the most change in my time and where I can see the future of the Data Centre recruitment shifting towards. Clients I work with and new companies joining the market no longer want just a supplier. They don’t just want an agency to come in and simply fill some jobs. The industry needs more than that. It needs specialists who can help guide and support their clients through growth with up-to-date market information. It needs more discussions to be had around bringing new talent into the industry, looking at the next generation and improving on our recruitment of a diverse workforce. It needs recruitment partners not suppliers.

This way of working lends itself to building stronger relationships with trusted partners who can access the full talent pool and have the knowledge to push back if what the client is looking for isn’t out there right now. If we want to continue to grow and improve as an industry and sector, we need to work smarter and that can only happen with collaboration and movement in this direction. 


Overall, it feels like things are moving in the right direction. As with any growing industry it is going to take time to get things right. I am having more and more conversations with clients about the future which can only be a good thing. As always within the Data Centres market the future is looking bright.

Hopefully you found something useful to take away from this article. I’d love to get your opinion, whether you are an internal recruiter or manager within industry. Let me know what you think and where you see the market heading in terms of its recruitment strategy. 

Written by Ben Palmer, Sector Lead FM & Operations

Contact him Here

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”​ –Richard Branson

I wrote a short post on retention last week and it received a lot of interest so I thought I would go into a bit more detail in an article.

If you are an employer within the data centre sector then you need to thinking about retention. The market is moving fast and the war for talent is well and truly in full swing. A quote I like regarding this is as follows;

“Start the retention process when the person is still open to staying and not after they’ve already told you they’re leaving.”

We have all been there – A key employer resigns because they have a better offer elsewhere and you then start the process of trying to keep them. At this stage it is normally too late.

I am sure you all spend hours working on your customer retention strategies, but do you spend time working on your employee retention strategy?

There are a number of companies that focus heavily on retention and as a result they retain a high percentage of their staff, but what are they doing?

They increase the flow of communication – How can you know what your employees are thinking if you don’t ask them? You need to create an open way of communication at all levels of your organisation. What is important to a CEO may not be important to an engineer, every level needs the opportunity to communicate. When you have the feedback, discuss the ideas, and feedback back to your employees about what you will implement and by when. Communication is critical!

“Highly engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it.” Timothy R. Clark

They ensure each individual employee has a career path – Don’t assume that all employees are happy in their current role. Ensure all levels have the opportunity to develop, whether that is to develop at the level they are at or to develop to the next role in the career ladder. As soon as you promote someone you should put them on a development plan to reach the next level. The majority of people need a goal, they need something to work towards and as an employer you should ensure every single person has that opportunity. Manage this correctly and you will limit the amount of people that leave to achieve the next step on the career ladder.

Tied in with a career path is learning & development – Everyone should have the opportunity to develop knowledge within their role. A number of organisations offer in house or external training courses to ensure employees have access to development opportunities.

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” –Richard Branson

They recruit well – Having a defined recruitment strategy will improve retention. Have a structure to your process and recruit to your company values, not just the skills required for the role. Recruit people that match your company values and sell them your company vision, tell them why people want to work for you and therefore why they should join. And if they don’t fit your values, don’t recruit them no matter how great they appear on paper.

They recruit via direct referrals – If you can recruit like minded people that are recommended by your existing employees you will improve retention. If you can push direct referrals you will notice a large impact on employee retention.

They focus on employing a diverse workforce – I have worked with a number of clients recently that have been focussing on recruiting diverse talent and establishing a diversity & inclusion strategy. It is a well-known fact that diverse workforces have a better retention rate. You can also gain fresh ideas and views that help to improve your company culture. Go big on diversity and look to other sectors for diverse talent.

“Diversity is not about how we differ. Diversity is about embracing one another’s uniqueness.” Ola Joseph

They have a defined company culture that is built on company values – This can’t just be writing on the wall, you need values that mean something and values that create a unique culture. A team working together will always have greater retention than a group of individuals. Work with your employees to define your values and let that create your culture. What makes your company great? And what makes a great employee within your company

“Treating employees benevolently shouldn’t be viewed as an added cost that cuts into profits, but as a powerful energizer that can grow the enterprise into something far greater than one leader could envision.” Harold Schultz – founder and former CEO of Starbucks

They regularly review remuneration / packages – It is easy to forget to review existing employees’ salaries and packages but it is essential that you do. As talent is becoming more in demand packages always increase. You can easily lose a key employer simply because you left them on the same pay scale as when they joined the company two years ago. Make sure you regularly review based on market conditions.

They give recognition – Dont undervalue the impact of employee recognition. Celebrate the small wins as well as the big wins. Share the success with all levels of your organisation, make everyone feel a part of the journey.

 “People work for money but go the extra mile for recognition, praise and rewards.”

And finally they are flexible – If you are not offering flexibility right now then you are in trouble. Make sure employees have the option to work from home if required (if possible for the role) and ensure you offer flexibility on shift patterns. Flexibility also comes in with employee remuneration – are you offering everyone the same package or can they choose what is most beneficial to them? As always ask your employees what they want and work with them to find a solution.

A retention strategy needs to be unique to your organisation, it is not a one size fits all approach. Engagement with your staff is the first step on the road to developing a strategy. So why not start today by asking your employees how you can improve your organisation?

And if you are an employee, take your ideas to your employer. Offer solutions and not problems. If they don’t listen, then there are plenty of companies out there that will. 

You cant stop employees leaving unless you have a plan to make them stay”

Top tips to improve diversity & inclusion in the data centre industry..

I recently decided to take a look at the key learnings from my conversations on the Inside Data Centre Podcast and share them in the hope that they offer value to people in the DC sector.

Diversity and inclusion has been a topic on a number of my podcasts, and for very good reason, but what have I learnt?

Check out the below list for 7 tips on how the data centre sector can improve diversity and inclusion..

Talk about D&I – We don’t talk about these issues enough and the only way to try to solve them is to discuss with others. Be open with your colleagues about D&I and create the framework to have open discussions on the topic.

Create role models – Highlight the role models in the industry to let everyone know what can be achieved. We all rely on role models for inspiration and guidance, those people that have walked the path will have a much greater impact on the younger generation that is facing the same challenge.

Take your message to the target audience – Don’t expect people to come to you. It is imperative that you take the message to the people you want to listen. Identify your audience and go to them.

Industry collaboration – We are greater together. This isn’t a challenge one person or one company can solve. The whole industry needs to unify to ensure that diversity and inclusion is a high priority for everyone.

Provide ongoing education – Does everyone in your organisation understand the benefits of having a more diverse workforce? Do they understand that D&I is a real challenge within the sector? Make sure everyone has access to education on the topic.

Analyse your recruitment strategy – Have you provided unconscious bias training? Review your whole process from marketing through to hire. Utilise the technology available to improve your strategies and process. 

Provide the opportunities – We have to offer the opportunities in order to improve D&I. Let people into your organisation to see how you work and what the industry can offer, and then give them the opportunity to be part of your business. 

What do you think? What more can we do to enhance diversity and inclusion in the industry? It would be great to hear your views..

5 Top tips for anyone looking to work in the data centre industry..

I wrote this as a post last week and I had a lot of messages about the topic so I thought I would make it an article so more people can benefit from the advice.

A lot of people ask me what are my main learnings from my guests on the Inside Data Centre Podcast so I thought I would share some of my top tops that I have learnt along the way.

First up are my top 5 tips for anyone looking to work in the data centre industry

1) You don’t need to be an engineer to work in the DC sector. This is a common misconception from those outside the industry but there are a broad variety of careers available in the sector, and high demand in all of them. Whether you work in HR, Finance, development, data analytics, construction, etc, there are plenty of opportunities available across the globe. 

2) Try and experience a variety of roles when you first start your career. If you can get a broad understanding of all aspects of the industry it will benefit your long-term career. If you worked in design and then moved to site you will understand the process from both view points. 

3) Research is important to understand the sector and demonstrate your desire to work in the DC industry. Listen to podcasts, read articles, attend events (online..).. Knowledge is key to success and it also demonstrates a genuine interest to start a career in the sector. Employers are looking for people that are motivated to make a genuine difference. 

4) Reach out to people in the industry to ask for advice – most people will be more than happy to help. The industry is full of great people that want to help, you just need to ask. If you need some advice ask an expert, just do it in a way that shows an appreciation for the other persons time and effort. You will be surprised by how many people are happy to help. 

5) Do it!! What are you waiting for? 

I ask everyone the same question at the end of the podcast – ‘If you could give one piece of advice to those looking to work in the sector what would it be?’. 

I do the hard work; you just need to listen to the answers..

What are your top tips?