Bridging the big data talent gap

Bridging the big data talent gap

Most organisations I have met with in the past 12 months are investing in smart data mining tools, CRM systems and digital platforms, as well as adopting a digital focused marketing strategy to reflect the rapidly changing consumer buying behaviour. This has transformed traditional marketing teams and the skills required to analyse and execute an integrated marketing strategy.

When I ask senior marketing leaders “What are your main challenges?” the common thread is talent, which is of no surprise with the current global news. The types of positions being created are:

– Digital insights analysts
– CRM analysts
– Digital adoption
– Social media
– User experience

Positions are being created across industries and the demand for these skills is rising at an exponential rate. Having recruited in London when the dot-com boom hit, and skill shortages created a scramble for talent, over inflated salaries, unrealistic expectations and talent with limited experience being offered positions they are not able to fulfil, feelings of déjà vu are starting to creep in.

Current headlines are startling with the latest news from the UK revealing that the marketing and media sector continues to suffer from a mass talent shortage. Permanent placements have collapsed by 21% year on year, but actual job openings have risen by 2% which is indicative of an on-going scarcity of available talent.

A recent McKinsey Global Institute report predicts that there will be a shortage of talent necessary for organisations to take advantage of big data. 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.

How can marketers bridge the gap with Australian companies just cresting the wave of the digital revolution? Is it inevitable to ride the talent shortage roller coaster as as seen through the dot-com boom?

There are a number of solutions for big data skills shortages

A short-term solution is the advent of consulting and outsourcing firms specialising in deploying big data systems and developing the algorithms and applications. This allows organisations the opportunity to actually derive value from their information. Almost unheard of just a few years ago, these companies are cropping up fairly frequently, and some are bringing in a lot of money from clients and investors.

A long-term solution some of our clients are adopting across agencies and in-house marketing functions are:

  • Restructuring teams
  • Offering sponsorships for overseas talent
  • Investing in up-skilling and internal training courses
  • Raising salaries – salaries for niche talent is already rising with digital strategists salaries at $5-10K higher compared to digital account managers.

Is it inevitable to ride the talent shortage roller coaster as seen through the dot com boom? Are there any other solutions out there or will time be the only healer?

More reading:

Big data, smart data, my data?
Social commerce: Does it work, or not?
7 digital trends to include in your marketing plan
The key skills needed to be a successful CMO
What is a digital hybrid talent?


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