5G growth hits the brakes
Technology advancement is in continuous motion these days. One of the technologies currently in motion is 5G. 5G stands to create new opportunities for organizations to interact differently across their stakeholder communities. MarketWatch recently reported that the global 5G Infrastructure Market back in 2016 had a value of $0.56 billion – that is not much at all. Currently it is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of just over 51% through 2025. That means it is currently projected to reach an incredible $22.93 billion USD by 2025. Once again, that is a very aggressive growth projection given a significant problem that is currently being experienced!
INSIGHT: In a recent poll, a mere 13.6 percent of respondents believed 5G was the technology innovation that would have the greatest impact in the next 3 to 5 years!
In January 2020, the U.S. Senate held a hearing with authorities in 5G. Once again, a common issue in emerging technology came up and was discussed. The shortage of properly skilled workers is, and will, inhibit the progress of changing / installing the infrastructure needed to support 5G. Fiber technicians, trench technicians, tower technicians and many more job titles were discussed. One metric that was given was the current 'tower climber' workforce is around 21,000. They estimate another 20,000 tower climbers are needed to support the transition to 5G.
During their discussion they stated that some training programs are in place and others are in the pipeline while additional programs are under consideration. However, some programs are having trouble attracting people to enroll and take the courses! Once completed, the individuals are tested and if they pass, they are certified to perform a certain role, it's functions and job tasks. Where will all those workers come from given the U.S. has the lowest unemployment rate in about 50 years? How will we get the training delivered and get them certified to perform this work? How long will this take? How much will this delay 5G?
Note: One individual that testified stated, additional skills are necessary for these individuals even once they graduate and received the certification (card).
This problem is so profound, companies are beginning to go back into the high schools to recruit, offer scholarships and even working - apprenticeships to try and overcome the problem. The availability of properly skilled workers is a common and growing issue in all emerging technologies. There is no easy, quick reactive answer. Some large organizations are beginning to examine creating their own college/university as a benefit they offer to attract workers right out of high school and to provide reskilling of their existing workers.
Additional information about the Talent issue - LINK: https://www.projectmanagement.com/articles/610748/The-Talent-Dilemma--Dealing-With-Departure-Disruption-5G