Tech Talent Supply/Demand Imbalance Seen in GE Digital TV Campaign

Hiring top tech talent is a big challenge, even for GE.
Hiring top tech talent is a big challenge, even for GE.

If you’re having a hard time finding the right IT infrastructure resources for your data center and cloud solutions (whether employee or outsource), join the club.  A multi-million dollar marketing campaign shows that GE has to pull out all the stops to attract top-notch talent to their GE Digital division.

GE’s “Owen” campaign is a humorous series of ads in which a fictional recent GE Digital hire named Owen tells about the work he’ll be doing to help grow what the company calls their Industrial Internet.  The scope of the work confuses his parents and Owen’s friends who seem more impressed by an acquaintance who works for “Zazzies”, an app that puts hats on animals.

The campaign started in the fall on late night talk shows, and expanded into the most expensive TV advertising venues.  The ads were in rotation on NFL broadcasts, including NBC’s Sunday Night Football, television’s highest rated series, carrying a price tag of $665,375 for each 30-second ad last fall.

While the message makes the point that GE Digital is helping hospitals run and manufacturing machinery communicate properly, the ads are really an indication of the challenge GE has in finding qualified developers, engineers and other web professionals as the company grows a business around the Internet of Things while transitioning more of their infrastructure from traditional data centers to the cloud via Amazon Web Services (AWS).

GE needs very specific skill sets, and likely highly values technologists who have worked with AWS in the past.  AWS, Microsoft’s Azure, and traditional data center/virtualization all can accomplish similar things.  But someone who has worked extensively in one of those environments cannot readily transition their experience from one to the other.  There’s a learning curve with each.

But lacking AWS experience is likely not a deal breaker for GE.  With a growing need for infrastructure, cloud, and data center employees, most employers are very likely to take on and “coach up” a smart person with a capacity for the work and a willingness to learn.  Developers, web engineers, and other technologists don’t exactly grow on trees, and they are in demand given the limited supply of capable, skilled workers.

If GE, with all of their resources, needed to launch an eight-figure marketing campaign to find qualified help. with presumably fewer resources there’s no reason for you to expect it to be an easy process for your organization, whether you’re looking for skilled employees or a trustworthy outsource.

You can watch Owen choosing GE over “Zazzies” here.