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5 Talent Strategies to Bridge the Telecom Talent Gap

Skills Gap October 19, 2022
5 Talent Strategies to Bridge the Telecom Talent Gap


Telecommunications link humanity. It’s a critical enabler for every sector in the digital age. Industry 4.0 pushes telecom businesses to adopt new digital technologies to stay competitive. 

  1. Lack of digital skills makes telecom careers obsolete, reducing growth chances. 
  2. HRs are waging a battle to find talent skilled in IoT, AI/ML, 5G, etc. 

33% of the top network engineering and operations roles lack the necessary skills to keep up with new trends.  The rise of “smart cities” is also putting pressure on telecom companies to build up their talent pools. 

The telecom sector is competing for highly-specialized talent that is becoming increasingly harder to find. The US now has more employment opportunities, particularly in 5G, than existing 5G talent. 

Workforce Planning Strategies for Telecommunication

Today’s rush for 5G capabilities places a premium on competent engineers and installers who can build the necessary infrastructure and make 5G functional. Therefore, telecommunications businesses must consider strategies and tools for the future. 

1. Hire for potential instead of skills

For long-term success in a 5G-enabled environment, talent management must establish a talent pool that can expand into diverse roles and assist the organization in constructing the 5G infrastructure and delivering services. 

When talent management teams hire for potential, instead of skills, they tap into a talent pool that can be re/upskilled to take up 5G-specific projects. This allows telecom businesses to increase their 5G, cloud computing, and IoT workforce. 

2. Attract and educate talent

Many students are unaware of the prospects 5G will provide and how competitive the salaries will be, posing a challenge for talent management. They must recruit talent by providing information about the sector. 

In this era of rising unemployment, it is challenging for talent management to recruit skilled 5G talent and advance them into higher positions. Employers focusing on the subtleties may find it simpler when they recruit skilled 5G talent with learning capacity. 

3. Upskill and calibrate with future skills

Upskill and reskill the present workforce to bridge the skills gap using skills adjacency. The process begins by examining skills adjacencies and specifying the skills required for future occupations, such as Network Technician to Cyber Security Engineer. 

Calibrate jobs with future skills to create career paths based on emerging skills in fast-growing and innovative organizations. Telecom would benefit from aligning roles with evolving skills in organizations, namely Amazon, Meta, IBM, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Netflix. 

4. Diversify your talent pool

Expanding recruitment efforts to target a wider range of candidates from diverse backgrounds helps bring fresh perspectives and skills to your organization. This includes considering candidates with non-traditional education or career paths who may have unique skills and experiences to offer.  

In addition, diversifying the talent pool can help address any skills gaps in the organization and create a more inclusive and equitable workplace. 

5. Implement succession planning

Telecom Companies must develop a plan to identify and prepare high-potential employees for leadership and critical roles within the organization. This helps to mitigate the disruption caused by unexpected departures, retirements, or other unforeseen circumstances.  

Proactive talent management strategies such as this can also improve employee retention, enhance organizational performance, and promote a culture of continuous learning and development.

Upskilling Telecom Talent to Align with Internal Mobility Strategy

When employees are promoted during the first three years of employment, they are 70% more likely to remain with the organization. Those that move laterally have a 62% chance of staying. 

Telecom companies are enhancing their learning and development programs to assist their current employees in acquiring skills such as 5G, AI/ML, Data Science, etc., and filling open positions. 

Through these micro- and macro-learning programs, firms are training their staff with the digital skills necessary to realize their vision and thrive in this high-tech world. 

For instance, a traditional RF Engineer can take these courses to transition to new-age roles: 

  • 5G Design & Optimization RF Engineer
    – Courses: 5G Radio Network Design + Planning & Optimization Training
    – Skills acquired: LTE-Advanced Pro, 5G, mmWave, Radar, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth/BLE/BT5.0, Zigbee, Satellite Communications 
  • 5G Wireless RF Engineer
    – Courses: 5G Radio Systems and Wireless Networks
    – Skills acquired: RF planning, LTE-Advanced Pro, Radio Wave Propagation and Modeling, RF Modelling and Simulation, etc. 

French telecom operator Orange started a five-year upskilling campaign for its 148,000 employees in February 2020. It focused on AI, data, cybersecurity, network management, 5G, cloud, and soft skills. 

Other telecommunications firms, such as BT and Telefonica, have followed Orange’s lead in upskilling. 

Draup has analyzed the talent disruption in telecom due to the emergence of 5G-enabled services. The report covers talent size, top skills in demand, talent cost, job role growth, talent experience split, gender diversity, etc. It also shows reskilling strategies for disrupted job roles so talent management can provide a career path. 

The report picks a sample ‘Mobile Core Network Engineer’ role and how talent management can help individuals acquire skills to move to this position and become senior over time.


The report further illustrates the in-demand job roles, skill sets required to solve complex problems, in-depth location analysis of telecom talent, and reskilling approaches. 

Creating new products and services needs a fresh approach to skills acquisition. Accessing skilled talent quickly and enabling workers to establish personalized, future-proof career pathways strengthens your organization’s capacity to respond to market changes. 

The rapid transformation in telecom is forcing HR leaders to create new reskilling frameworks to address these skills challenges effectively. 

The Draup for Talent platform helps in identifying skill sets and mapping them with its database’s existing list of courses and programs. With this, talent management teams can control the end-to-end employee reskilling programs.

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