Firms battle to attract big data experts

In today’s digital world, the ability to collect and analyse the right kind of information from multiple data sources is critical for companies to grow and remain competitive.

In recent years, Big Data has become a key player in providing companies who have harnessed its potential with new intelligence and valuable insight in a number of ways, including: giving information on business performance for better decision-making, forecasting, and improving the development of products and services that are tailored to their customers’ wants and needs, to name just a few examples. Companies like Amazon and Netflix use Big Data to analyse every step of a customer’s online journey and personalise their offerings based on the customers’ behaviours to keep them coming back.

Increasing opportunities, lack of education

Although Big Data has been around for a number of years and its adoption is on the rise, there are still a number of organisations missing out as a result of a lack of knowledge and skills. Increasingly, clients are asking IT service providers for Big Data solutions, but not everyone is equipped to provide it. Aside from the cost implications, other reasons could include lack of expertise, with organisations not knowing how they can benefit from using it; the approach appearing overly complicated and time-consuming to be implemented; or simply because there’s a shortage of Big Data professionals.

IT professionals in companies already using Big Data are getting increasingly dexterous at collecting and processing bigger data sets. Yet much territory is still unexplored. We hear of companies collecting vast amounts of data that they don’t understand how to maximise, and others missing out on gaining any useful insights from it. Having the right skills is essential – it’s not just about adopting a new technology, it’s also about having the ability to create, analyse and interpret this data to see the bigger picture. On this basis, we expect seeing companies offering more opportunities for Big Data professionals, as reflected in our recent Tech Cities Job Watch report.

Security concerns around Big Data

With ever-increasing volumes of data being collected, there are growing concerns over data protection and privacy. Companies must have adequate tools and measures in place to process and store the data, keep it up-to-date and prevent unauthorised access. It’s not enough to simply collect a vast amount of data for the sake of gathering as much information as possible – it’s important to manage it properly. With security measures such as the EU Data Protection Regulation coming into place, companies are required to have the right capabilities and compliance skills in-house to ensure they avoid being in breach of this regulation as this could mean risking stiff penalties.

Surging wages

These factors have pushed companies to compete for the best Big Data talent, to ensure they have the right capabilities in-house. This is further reflected in the Tech Cities Job Watch report which highlighted an annual rise of 8.14% in perm salaries for Big Data roles, three times higher than the Bank of England’s forecasted wages increase for Britain (3%).

With data becoming more accessible and companies waking up to the value it can bring to their bottom line, employers are now willing to pay more for professionals who can transform facts and figures into actionable insights and remain compliant. Vice versa, individuals with these capabilities will be well placed to command the bigger salaries, over the coming years.

Read more in Experis’ Tech Cities Job Watch Q1 2016 report.
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