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Industry addresses ‘cliff edge’ to replace seniors who move on

Oliver CW and Ruth Redding.jpg

The industry is starting to take action on what many are seeing as a crisis in recruitment of new talent as many are approaching retirement age.

The Global Leaders Forum (GLF), which represents many of the senior executives in telecoms, is planning to create a top talent leadership programme to address their own succession plans.

“We hope to announce more at Capacity Middle East,” said Telstra’s Oliver Camplin-Warner (pictured, left), speaking in a talent panel yesterday at Capacity Europe.

Infinera’s Ruth Redding (pictured, right) confirmed the scale of the problem: “In our sales community we’re facing a retirement cliff,” she said. “We are looking at how to bring in a younger generation, either by upskilling current staff or by looking externally.”

Vicky Sleight of the TMForum, who was chairing the panel, said: “There is an industry branding problem, an invisibility problem. We don’t even have a profile on university graduate recruitment schemes.”

Sleight itemised three challenges: recruitment, reskilling and retention. “We need to bring sexy back [into the industry]. People think it’s boxes, wires and climbing up telegraph poles.”

Eric Cevis of Verizon addressed the retention challenge. He has worked at the company for decades, “but now we are finding people with three years or less of service are moving. What do we do to attract talent?”

It’s not just technology people, said Gary Hope of Telefónica. “We need people with human skills, leadership skills, creative skills.”

The GLF board supported the initial proposal on Monday, said GLF director Annabel Helm “Now we are looking to build the programme, define budgets etc with the aim of a launch at Capacity Middle East.”