For years wireless carriers have been hyping 5G with no specific timeline to deploy the new technology. Now it’s becoming clear that the rollout has officially started this year. While wireless networks are always evolving, this is more than just a cellular upgrade that will increase speeds.

5G will offer enhancements in latency, vastly improving responsiveness. That translates to new capabilities in wireless technology, such as a replacement for traditional home internet service, a boost to self-driving cars, and new possibilities for the Internet of Things (IoT).

That’s all good news. But the rollout of 5G also brings with it a massive problem looming in the coming months.

This improvement in network capacity will be offset by a bottleneck of a new kind: a severe shortage of qualified technicians to deploy the 5G infrastructure.

How do we mitigate the fallout?

Recruiting and Career Development
Recent estimates put the shortage at 25,000, which is a significant discrepancy in boots on the ground. This severe deficit requires out-of-the-box measures and an urgent call to action.

On one hand, there is a need to increase workforce capacity by attracting fresh entrants from other industries. Recruiting is vital. On the other hand, there is an equally important need to upskill existing field technicians to make them more productive.

Technical services companies using the stale ‘cut and paste’ approach to train and develop their employees have stifled career advancement potential. Intending to attract talent, they increased competition between service providers, which ultimately drove wages up through attrition.

A new customized approach, where each technician has more control over career trajectory and skill development, will take training to the next level.

Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) will progressively automate (and eliminate) more jobs over the next decade across multiple industries. But that same technology can be leveraged to enable affected employees to acquire the needed skills to re-enter the workforce.

The upskilling process should target new entrants from outside the industry (high school students, veterans, and others) as well as existing technicians, enabling them via software apps and tools to become more productive and make an impact quickly.

This workforce transformation will blur blue- and white-collar job types and will power ‘purple collar’ next-generation smart technicians.

While the approach to address the shortage of skilled technicians is important, equally critical is the urgency and speed with which the technicians are recruited, trained, and available for field work.

Anticipating this need, Nexius set up MyndCo, a national training academy over a year ago and has graduated thousands of technicians to Velex, its own field service company. Plus has provided these upskilled technicians to its partners.

Amplifying the workforce is a must if we expect to unlock the full potential of the Smart Economy. Otherwise all the benefits that technology like 5G is offering will be at best delayed and at worst unrealized.

Since 2001, Nexius has provided end-to-end deployment services and solutions on the latest technologies. Our services include designing, optimizing, deploying, and delivering state-of-the-art networks tied together through program management expertise and automation tools for optimized time to market. As societies are leaping toward a more data-driven world, Nexius is leveraging technology innovation to unleash the power of the Smart Economy, by enabling smarter connections.