How to attract, develop and retain high performance data scientists

Companies are facing an analytics skills dearth. Best estimates suggest that by 2020 there will be a shortfall of 400,000 data scientists across the euro zone needed to cover business critical data analytics functions. Hiring Managers and business leaders are acutely aware of both the present and greater future shortfall in securing data talent.

Given this climate, businesses must avoid the trap of searching only for fully-formed candidates. Clients need someone who’s got a statistical background, can code, understand a business problem and communicate, but it’s difficult to find people with each of those qualities upfront. Instead, when hiring or bringing people into your team, identify people who can learn. If they have one of those attributes, they can learn the others.

Companies should broaden their search beyond candidates already working in the field and should focus on up-skilling the data and analytics team in house, because these are people who’ve been in the company for a number of years and existing employees already have a comprehensive knowledge of the data.

The challenges of employing data scientists aren’t confined to the recruitment process. If businesses fail to develop a strong vision, they may quickly lose talent. If you’ve got a really good project or a really good vision, that they can see they can add value to, you will get the best talent. If you don’t, they’ll play with your data lake and get bored and move on.

The best talent come when you have a really good vision and they can see that there’s a future in the company and they can grow within themselves, promoting the company vision should be a top priority, its about exciting candidates about the huge datasets companies have to play with.

Alex White