Data analytics rises to top ranks of most in-demand skills

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Skills in data analytics are becoming among the most sought-after in the job market, as a growing number of organizations tackle digital transformation efforts and try to gain increased value from their information assets.

As evidence, a new study by Gartner, Inc. finds that in 2018 an estimated 49 percent of all job postings by S&P 100 companies were for just 39 job roles, with analytics a top skill contender. The remaining 51 percent of postings were for 872 other roles.

Demand for talent is converging sharply on critical roles in the U.S. and U.K., according to Gartner TalentNeuron data on millions of job postings. Forty-one percent of all job postings by FTSE 100 companies in 2018 were for just 20 roles, while the remaining 59 percent were for 641 other roles. The most competitive roles in the U.S. and U.K. are in critical functions across IT, research and development, marketing, sales and customer service.

“In the U.S. and U.K., we’re seeing many of the same in-demand skills, including data analysis, advanced coding and solution selling,” said Lauren Smith, vice president, Gartner’s HR practice. “The 39 critical roles in the U.S. include software developers, marketing managers and computer system engineers/architects, whereas in the U.K., the most critical roles include customer service representatives and financial managers.”

Competition for talent complicates recruitment

This convergence of demand reflects fundamental changes in the workforce, including an increasing focus on digitalization. Gartner research found that 67 percent of business leaders agree their company must become significantly digitalized by 2020 to remain competitive. As new technologies emerge and corporate business models evolve, many organizations across most industries are pursuing the same talent.

In addition, skills and roles are themselves evolving with technology, meaning business leaders may not even know what their own talent needs will be, according to the study. Gartner said most organizations expect more than 40 percent of leadership roles to be significantly different within five years.

Recruitment costs are surging as recruiters must handle a more complex mix of requisitions, with more specialized and unfamiliar requirements, the study reveals. Time to fill for open positions is increasing, especially when recruiters are hiring for talent in areas outside of their core competence.

Data helps focus the talent search

Data on external labor markets offers important future-focused, data-driven insights into emerging technologies, the associated demand for new technical skills and the geographic locations that provide rich sourcing opportunities for sought-after talent, Smith says.

“Those insights not only uncover potentially new sources of talent, they also provide a more sophisticated way to view and define your talent sourcing strategy in order to drive business results,” Smith explains. “Understanding the increased competition in the external labor markets also enables organizations to be more strategic about which roles to fill externally, and whether they must look to their internal talent pool to fill certain positions.”

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