Demand For Data Analysis Skills Is Rising

Demand For Data Analysis Skills Is Rising

Jobs requiring data analysis skills will increase by 2021, according to a new survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

For HR departments, this means an increasing difficulty to recruit the highly sought after professionals who are skilled in data analysis.

In fact, data analysis skills are already required in the HR departments of over half the surveyed organisations.

The Jobs of the Future: Data Analysis Skills report included almost 400 randomly selected HR professionals of SHRM’s membership, from companies with 25 or more employees, and was sponsored by the American Statistical Association.

Unsurprisingly, the results highlighted that the main use of big data within HR departments is within recruitment and selection of candidates – with a whopping 71% of organisations doing so.

Some 63% of HR teams use big data for employee retention strategies and 61% within talent management and performance. Just over half, 53%, of HR departments are using big data in making strategic decisions

What emerged from the survey was that 51% of organisations attribute their not using big data to a lack of expertise and knowledge, and 30% said they don’t have enough data available to them.

As the demand for data analysis skills grows, the challenge to find and retain qualified candidates also increases.

78% of respondents reported difficulties within the last 12 months in recruiting employees for roles such as data scientist, data analyst, statistician, financial analyst and research manager.

Where do we need data analysis skills?

The research revealed that the top 2 functional areas requiring data analysis skills is, perhaps unsurprisingly, Accounting & Finance and Human Resources.

Demand For Data Analysis Skills Is Rising


A plentiful 79% of the positions are full-time and are in mid-level management. Just over half of companies, 60%, also require data analysis skills from their senior managers and executives.

For these roles, employees are required to have ‘moderate’ data analysis skills, alongside a bachelor’s degree, reported 83% of respondents. Over a third of these organisations look for the degree to be in analytics, computer science or statistics.

Some other discoveries:

  • Publicly owned for-profit organisations were the most likely of all sectors to have recruited employees into data analysis positions in the last 12 months.
  • Almost three quarters of organisations (72%) said they’ve recruited employees into data analysis roles within the past 12 months. 78% of these said they experienced difficulties recruiting in this area.
  • Organisations with 500+ employees were more likely than those with 25-499 to have made such hires in the past 12 months.

“Growing complexity in the use of data analytics could lead to organisations seeking out talent with these highly specialized skills,” says Evren Esen, director of workforce analytics at SHRM .

“If this happens, HR may be faced with recruitment and retention difficulties. To deal with these potential skill shortages, HR needs to prepare for its current and future workforce needs, including justifying investments in employee training and development.”

How Can HR Get Ready?

As the battle for qualified data analysts begins, HR departments can prepare by creating their own supply of skilled employees from within their existing workforces.

“It is valuable for organisations to engage in workforce planning to define future business needs, identify gaps between the existing and future workforce, and to develop strategies to meet these needs—especially for in-demand skills,” says Esen.

The authors of the study recommend that HR tackle these issues by conducting a supply analysis, demand analysis and a gap analysis. This then allows HR departments to develop their recruitment and training plans to deal with these gaps.

They also highlighted the need to ensure that workforce planning is an ongoing activity, as well as the benefits of coordinating succession planning and career development initiatives.

Have you seen an increase in demand for data analysis skills in your organisation? We’d love to hear your comments, share then in the box below.

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