New EMC study confirms massive worldwide shortage of data scientists

Blog Posts:Mu Sigma
Published On: 09 December 2011
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Earlier this year, a McKinsey study found an alarming shortage of analytics talent required to help companies deal with Big Data. In fact, the report states that by 2018, “the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions.”

Well, last week, EMC Corporation announced the results of its own study – which found the same results:

“EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC) today unveiled the findings of the largest-ever global survey of the data science community. Spanning the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, India and China, the EMC Data Science Study reveals and quantifies a rampant scarcity across the globe for the prerequisite skills necessary for a company to capitalize on the opportunities found at the intersection of Big Data and data analytics. Only one-third of companies are able to effectively use new data to assist their business decision-making, gain competitive advantage, drive productivity growth, yield innovation and reveal customer insights.”

This doesn’t surprise us, because clients tell us on a daily basis how hard it is for them to find, recruit and retain analytics talent. The very few people they do find tend to take jobs in the financial sector (read: hedge funds), where they feel the rewards are richer. One of our clients – a senior executive for a national retail chain – told me that at one point his company had ten openings in its analytics group, and that in one year of serious effort he was able to fill only one position.

This trend has been a key driver for Mu Sigma’s swift growth – many companies are finding that it’s faster to simply outsource advanced analytics to Mu Sigma than to spend years trying to build up an in-house team.

Has your company found it challenging to find good analytics talent? What strategies have you used to attract these people to your firm?

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