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Global Advanced Analytics talent pool will double by 2020, but bottlenecks will persist

10 May 2019
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The global demand for analytics experts will be well-served by a new breed of workforce that hasn’t been trained in the traditional ways, according to research from management consulting firm Bain & Company.

Its analysis of the global market for analytics talent found that in the next two years, the global supply will double from 500,000 people in 2018 to an estimated one million in 2020. This growth is due to a pivot in non-traditional and traditional education.

The company says that almost every organisation realises that innovation in analytics is a major part of their business, however progress is often blocked by lack of talent, data, and analytics strategy. All of this from a small pool of talent – but that is growing.

"The growth in advanced analytics talent is happening so rapidly it's hard to find historical precedent," says Bain & Company's Technology and Analytics Practice global leader and co-author of the study, Chris Brahm.

"While the US pool will remain the largest market for analytics talent, other global tech powers are quickly gaining ground."

India is one country set to benefit the most from the analytics boom. It is supported by an influx of graduates with advanced degrees in computer and data science, as well as the country’s strong IT ecosystem.

Bain & Company also predicts that analytics talent supply will also increase in China, Western Europe, and North America.

The consulting firm found that only 30% of companies are integrated with innovation for analytics, so the global supply growth is good news if companies take a creative and flexible approach.However, the most experienced analytics experts are still in short supply and likely to be managing new graduates. It would be difficult to lure that talent away from ‘analytically mature’ sectors.

Bain & Company suggests that companies take a multi-layered staffing ecosystem approach instead. This includes:

Building centres of excellence for pools of hired analytics experts and providing flexible work options to attract remote talent.

Retraining capable existing employees and giving them access to automation tools. Most companies have shadow analytics talent today and existing employees already know the company, the industry and how to effectively operate across the organisation. Many have the quantitative background to learn analytical skills and nearly 25% of respondents to Bain & Company's survey report that their companies have already implemented advanced analytics training programs.

Tapping into offshore data hubs, third party service firms and crowdsourcing for other work. Importantly, rather than trying to do everything in-house, a tiered talent strategy can focus a core, in-house analytics team on strategic tasks, while recognising what work can be outsourced.

Bain & Company says that for many companies, the ecosystem approach will fit better than full vertical integration, given the breadth of advanced analytics that will be needed in future.

"Embracing a tiered talent ecosystem will allow companies to tap into the rapidly growing global talent supply, create a more flexible and elastic model, all while leaving room to redeploy existing talent in new and creative ways. Companies cannot afford to let a bottleneck in analytics talent slow them down, and thankfully they won't have to," Brahm concludes.

Information is from Bain & Company’s Solving the New Equation for Advanced Analytics Talent report.