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Recruiting the right people is the No. 1 inhibitor for channel players looking to grow, and Cisco is hoping to ease this partner pain by launching a slew of initiatives aimed at helping VARs attract, develop and retain talent. 

Speaking at the Cisco Partner Summit in Honolulu, Celia Harper-Guerra, director of worldwide partner talent at Cisco, said the vendor is in part helping to drive the skills shortage by asking partners to deal with complex, new technologies.  Coupled with baby boomers exiting the market and not enough technology graduates, partners are finding it tough to hire both technical and sales talent.  

To read about John Chambers’ keynote at the Cisco Partner Summit, click here.

Harper-Guerra announced that Cisco has launched its PTN (Partner Talent Network) which will replace the existing Partner Talent Portal. The PTN is a platform that will use Web 2.0 technologies, such as video, to connect solution providers with potential employees, provide targeted candidate matching and help VARs to develop career road maps for each of their employees.

“This is revolutionary. It is no longer about text resumes and text job descriptions, it will all be done through video – using technology to get the right talent,” Harper-Guerra said.

As part of its Talent Pool Connections initiative, Cisco is connecting its partners to the 20,000 resumes it receives a month applying for positions within the vendor.  These potential employees will now be able to locate vacancies within solution providers at the Web site. It also is adding its Networking Academy Alumni Association of 200,000 registered graduates to the Cisco careers Web site.

Also around the challenge of attracting talent, under its Recruitment Service Solutions initiative Cisco has negotiated a reduced rate for partners at many of the recruitment companies it uses who specialize in technology and networking skills.

Once an employee has joined a VAR it’s vital that they also develop soft skills such as business acumen, according to Harper-Guerra. So Cisco has launched the Professional Career Accelerator, which helps solution providers to manage and personalize the career paths of its employees through on-the-job training and skills guidance.

Michael O’Neil, president and principal analyst at Channel Input, said one of the themes at the partner summit has been the issue of talent. “It is inevitable after the bubble burst that people began avoiding the technology market, so we do have this gap in talent.”

He added that lots of what Cisco talks about, with Web 2.0 and partner-to-partner collaboration, is one of the ways of ensuring there is enough talent to cover the opportunity as Cisco moves from attacking one technology sector to attacking greater numbers of technology sectors. 

See these related stories also from the partner summit:

Chambers Tells VARs to Catch New Tech Wave

Cisco Unites VARs, ISVs over Integrated Apps

Cisco Portal to Help Partners Recruit Talent

Cisco Seeks Partner Growth

Cisco Plays Cupid for VARs

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Cisco’s Data Center Luau

Cisco Sets Sights on the Data Center

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