New regulation fuels surge in demand for data experts

DataIQ News

The quest for GDPR compliance might still be vexing many businesses but it is certainly proving a boon for the recruitment market, with demand for big data skills and professionals surging by 78% in the past 12 months.

So says the latest Tech Cities Job Watch report from Experis, the IT resourcing company, with contractor demand up 128% in the same period, and a 68% increase in the larger, permanent jobs market. These figures build on a similar boom in demand for data skills in the previous year.

The most in demand qualifications and skills for specific data roles include AWS, Python, Hadoop, Spark, Cloudera, MongoDB, Hive, Tableau and Java. In addition, hybrid-roles, where individuals have broader IT knowledge instead of niche specialist skills, are also highly sought after.

The Tech Cities Job Watch quarterly report tracks IT jobs and salaries advertised within five technology disciplines (big data, cloud, IT security, mobile, and web development) across 10 UK cities.

Experis UK & Ireland director of specialist markets Martin Ewings said: "A number of regulatory hurdles this year – including the much talked about GDPR – coupled with the growing Internet of Things trend, are putting pressure on businesses to better manage, process, secure and leverage their data.

"The power of that information is highly prized by organisations and they are eager to acquire the right skills, without necessarily fully comprehending precisely which skills are needed. For example, a data engineer or data architect might be more useful if the organisation has poor data infrastructures, instead of a data scientist to analyse the data."

Big data roles still remain the most highly valued, commanding the highest average advertised salary of £67,464 as well as the highest average advertised day rate of £504.

However, remuneration has stalled in recent months. Permanent salaries advertised only increased by 0.1% in the past year (Q1 2017 – Q1 2018) – the lowest of any of the five technology areas tracked – while contractor day rates are down 5% over the same period.

Ewings continued: "We believe this is not a case of IT salaries hitting a ceiling, but is due to a number of reasons, including a rebalancing of the market. We've previously seen remuneration mirror the rising demand for technology specialisms. Now the market is beginning to correct itself.

"Candidates have seen the potential for high earnings in big data roles and are upskilling themselves with the qualifications they need to secure those lucrative positions. If the supply meets the demand, we will see this natural stagnation of pay increases. As with any talent influx, businesses will have to ensure the same quality of candidate hire, rather than purely someone with data skills on their CV."

The report also shows that, despite London remaining the vital hub for technology jobs of all disciplines, there has been a gradual devolution of data roles to the wider UK market: London's share of the country's demand has fallen from 88% (Q1 2016), to 85% (Q1 2017), to 74% (Q1 2018).