SIA recently released our 2023 SIA Security Megatrends report and No. 3 among the megatrends for 2023 is workforce development.
While some in the industry think that general economic cooling might ease some of the challenges of hiring talent, many of those in the industry believe that it can only partially alleviate the talent shortage because the shortage has been so vast, particularly around field technicians. Notably, of the SIA members surveyed at the 2022 Securing New Ground conference, 35.5 percent said that talent shortages are limiting their ability to grow revenues.
While much of the focus is often rightly given to the challenges integrators have hiring cybersecurity talent, programmers/developers, project managers, system engineers, technicians and service staff, that’s not the only challenge that integrators and others face. Wesco’s Vice President of Global Security Tara Dunning served as one of SIA’s 2023 Security Megatrends member advisors and she noted that there are challenges in technical knowledge, logistics talent and even accounting skills.
Supplier/Solution Knowledge by Employees
Besides hiring great talent, Dunning said it is equally important that they have the technical depth on today’s complex product offerings. Manufacturers’ solutions today are even more feature-rich than ever, and the value an integrator provides is deeply tied to the expertise to recommend the best technology solution and to tie together multiple systems to help protect a client’s operations.
“Our industry is expanding, not contracting, from a product- and solution-choice perspective,” she said. “And irrespective of what part of the value chain a company is in, there needs to be someone focused on understanding and owning the compatibility and performance of these solutions.”
Due to the supply chain challenges that began during the pandemic, many businesses are reexamining the importance of logistics talent, including employees whose roles include forecasting demand and competently sourcing product and components, in addition to expertly managing warehousing and timely delivery of solutions to job sites.
As the pandemic taught all businesses, especially manufacturers and systems integrators, the ability to have products ready to install is just as important as being able to sell the project to the client.
“One area we are hearing a lot about from our customers (both end users and integrators) is that skilled talent in logistics is scarce, particularly along resourcing, demand planning and forecasting.” — Tara Dunning, Wesco
“One area we are hearing a lot about from our customers (both end users and integrators) is that skilled talent in logistics is scarce, particularly along resourcing, demand planning and forecasting,” Dunning said. “With uncertain economic conditions, we are hearing that predictability in supply chain is vital, but you need the talent to do it. If you look at the recent rulings from the FCC (and now EMEA and Canada are starting to follow suit), NDAA compliance is critical, and certainly lack of it poses risks to businesses that multiply with global compliance challenges.”
Billing & Finance
The world of accounting within companies was much simpler in a world where integrators only sold by the job. Now that many progressive integrators are adapting their businesses and leveraging software-as-a-service and subscription types of payment programs, this means new skills for billing and finance roles within your company. As Dunning explained, “Subscription services are a whole new world.”
SIA’s 2023 Security Megatrends report is available as a free download at securityindustry.org, and the Foundation for Advancing Security Talent (FAST) provides resources for job seekers and hiring companies (especially for security integrators) to help solve the talent shortage. FAST will be celebrating the often-underappreciated work of security technicians on the inaugural National Security Technician Day, Jan. 23, 2023, and at SIA, we encourage all companies to join with FAST and recognize the valuable impact that security technicians have upon our industry and our nation’s security. More details on National Security Technician Day are available at advancingsecurity.org.