The demand for big data specialists is set to grow by nearly 250% to 69,000 within the next five years, according to a new report by e-skills UK and SAS, which predicts that a third of the UK’s larger companies will deploy large-scale data programmes by 2018.
In the study, which probed 1,000 UK businesses with more than 100 employees, 90% of respondents said they believed they could achieve business benefits by raising the skills of their data analysts.
And with 60% of firms saying they find it challenging to hire the specialists, 45% said they would realise business benefits through training existing staff to boost skills. But the impact goes beyond the big data specialists. Currently, it is estimated that there are around 94 core big data users in every large UK organisation that has implemented a big data analytics programme, equating to about 383,000 people in total.
These are employees – outside of the IT or data teams – who use specific big data tools such as dashboards, key performance indicator data or market analysis.
Though proportionately, the report continued, the rise in the number of big data users is likely to be lower than specialists (177% over the next five years), and the number of users is set to rise dramatically to around 644,000 by 2017.
Lord Green, Minister of State for Trade & Investment, said business sectors across the economy are being transformed by data, analytics and modelling.
“The UK now has the opportunity to take a lead in the global efforts to deal with the volume, velocity and variety of data created each day,” he said. “To do this, we need to ensure the government, academia and businesses work together to further develop the skills available to us today and actively support programmes that nurture development in the next generation.”
Big data boosts insight and sales
Acxiom launch tackles big data fears
Big data experts get £600 an hour
Leahy: Tesco’s had big data for years
Can you really have too much data?
Big data, big problem for SMEs?
Clive Humby: ‘Big data isn’t scary’
Data at heart of £1bn Tesco revival