Big Data Market Update

Businesses on the hunt for top Big Data professionals
Now running for its third year, the Tech Cities Job Watch report provides organisations with a quarterly barometer of the changing workforce dynamics within the technology sector. Each report is followed by a Market Update event where business leaders from a variety of industries discuss the findings of the report and trends highlighted.

This blog was written using insights from the Big Data Market Update which took place in June 2017.

With over 90% of data in existence created in the past two years, it should come as no surprise that there are endless opportunities for both public and private sector organisations to drive improvements through the use of Big Data. We’re seeing more and more businesses wake up to this fact, with the Q1 2017 Tech Cities report showing that demand for Big Data professionals has risen by over 50% when compared to the previous year (since Q1 2016).

Used properly, Big Data can help organisations to:

  • Drive performance and cost savings
  • Develop more bespoke products and/or services which are aligned to customer needs and behaviour
  • Reduce fraud
  • Track public sentiment towards your organisation and products or service lines

Unfortunately, a number of significant data breaches over the last few years have significantly reduced the public’s trust in how businesses handle personal data. To avoid losing access to this wealth of information and damaging future opportunities, companies must work to raise awareness with their customers about the benefits of using Big Data. Transparency around how it is used must also be prioritised to help rebuild trust.

The three key challenges facing business starting to use Big Data are:

  • Wariness around what Big Data is and what it can do. Whilst individuals might have heard the word ‘Big Data’, there is often little understanding of what it means and how it can be used.
  • Reduced trust in the use of personal data. With levels of trust in how organisations handle personal data at an all-time low, education is vital for the continued use and development of Big Data. At Experis, we believe that the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an opportunity to build consumer confidence in how businesses collect, handle and use personal data. The potential fines of up to £20m or 4% of annual global turnover should help to ensure that this is taken seriously.
  • Data talent shortage. It’s estimated that the Big Data talent shortage is costing UK organisations roughly £2billion per year. And with hiring demand for this skill set continuing to increase, it’s likely to remain a challenge going forward. Brexit is a concern here, as industries must maintain access to global talent to ensure they can make the most out of their data and remain competitive on an international stage.

Despite the challenges, Big Data is becoming a core feature of a successful business in the digital age.

Our recommendations for organisations planning to implement Big Data into their business operations are:

  • Start with small data. Don’t attempt to jump straight in at the deep end with Big Data. Beginning on a smaller scale will allow you to gradually develop the required processes within your business for processing the data. Assessing the value and insights the data is producing as you go along will help to drive growth in the programme and gain support from within the business.
  • Share the positive stories. Much of the negativity towards Big Data comes from the stories resulting from poor data management. To counteract this, companies need to work on highlighting the positive stories in order to help Big Data reach its full potential.
  • Assess your workforce blend. Invest in the existing employees within your organisation, and review the business for potentially untapped talent. When looking to increase headcount, aim to hire for capabilities rather than just experience where possible. Contractors can also be helpful here, getting your project up to speed whilst upskilling your in-house talent.
  • Constantly upskill your workforce. As well as using contractors to upskill your workforce, you should have a training programme in place for your employees. Not only will this help to ensure that their skills are updated in line with your organisation’s needs, it will also help to boost employee retention.

Download the Tech Cities Job Watch report to find out more about the latest salary and hiring demand trends for Big Data.