Combatting the UK’s data analytics skills gap
By now, it’s pretty well known that there’s a demand for data skills. I might even go as far as saying that some people are a little sick of hearing it… but it’s an unavoidable truth. The government estimates that companies are recruiting for approximately 200,000 roles with hard data skills. And this isn’t slowing down - the need for data skills is set to continue rising in the coming years.
The problem is the number of graduates leaving university with the right skills is nowhere near enough to fill the current skills gap. Hundreds of thousands of roles need filling, and data skills are the fastest-growing area of digital skills, yet only 10,000 students are graduating with the right skill set each year. So, how did we get here, and how do we solve the issue?
The concept of data science is relatively new, which is the problem. The technologies and expertise needed are constantly evolving and shifting in ways that require agility. However, let’s say you have a data science degree and are ready to start your career. You might still need to have a strong understanding of the sector you’re working in. So, if you’re looking at healthcare or finance, you would still need to develop your knowledge of these areas to realise your potential fully.
It’s not hard to see why data is so vital to businesses of all sizes, but an uplift in data skills is a win-win for both companies and the people they hire. Businesses stay competitive, and people with hard data skills are in demand, and with demand often comes higher salaries. Getting to grips with data is crucial to giving startups a head-start, providing the insights they need to stay ahead of the game and become challenger brands and rival established companies.
Think of it this way, by understanding their data quickly, startups can work out how to better sell their products, improve their growth marketing performance, pivot depending on trends and improve the overall performance of their business. With demand for specialist data skills tripling in the last ten years, giving unhappy workers a new path to re-skill themselves into data analytics heroes seems like a natural step forward.
Simply put, companies know they need people with data skills, but we need more avenues to get people the skills they need quickly and effectively. You would think that with such a hunger, the talent pool would be a diverse reservoir, yet we also need to improve in this sense. Only relying on university graduates creates a host of barriers for businesses and isn’t the path for everyone looking to enter their chosen industry; this is where bootcamps step in.
Bootcamps like Le Wagon provide the bridge we need to support the gap universities are trying to fill. They provide short but expansive training that is accessible to a broader spectrum of people. All it takes is commitment and motivation to graduate with the perfect set of skills and knowledge to tap into this exploding field. Not only this, but they create an opportunity for entrepreneurs and their teams to empower themselves with skills to benefit their companies. There’s a strong correlation between training opportunities and workplace happiness. With the start-up mentality, you can be more agile in tailoring the expertise that works for you. Creating new routes for your team members, while recruiting for the spots that are easier to fill, means you already have someone that has the industry insights in the bag.
Startups are known to embody strong company values and goals, yet often with a lack of human resource. Those in particular verticals with data skills can reduce the need for extra analysts or tech teams; for example, procurement managers can monitor inventory more efficiently, marketers can better manage investment into advertising, and sales can more accurately forecast results. This approach also maintains the flat structure and fast decision-making that startups benefit from, but with reduced risk by making data-first decisions.
We know people are looking for a career pivot, and we know the size of the skills gap. Data analytics courses, like the one we launched earlier this year, present a solution for both issues. The demand for data analysts creates an exciting opportunity. Career switchers, up-skillers and graduates are incentivised to take the leap into a role they can shape and nurture. Business leaders get equipped with the power to drive innovation through the most effective use of their data. The possibilities of data analytics are bountiful; it just needs to be tapped into by the right people.