Tesco has shot down the notion that firms need to hire “data scientists” – as well as concerns about a big data skills shortage – by saying it simply recruits most of its tech-savvy staff straight from university.
The retail giant, which has put data at the heart of its business for nearly two decades, believes that a combination of highly competitive career paths and its strong links with UK universities means it is currently able to find all the talent it needs.
Speaking at the Teradata Partners conference in the US, Tesco’s supply chain programme manager, Duncan Apthorp, said: “There’s the term ‘data scientist’: we hate it with a vengeance. We look to hire smart, numeric people. They may be mathematicians, scientists, engineers – we even have one who did geography.
“We typically hire them straight out of university. We work closely with all the university career teams and so far we’ve not had a problem,” he added.
However, Apthorp did concede that, with big data skills soon to be in huge demand Tesco might have to tweak its recruitment policy. Some reports have claimed that big data experts can command up to £600 an hour.
“If you get a big uptick in the UK economy it will get harder, for sure,” he said, adding: “It’s worth saying why we don’t have a problem hiring people. Where else could a graduate go and save a business £10m per year? When you present smart people with opportunities like that, they jump,” he concluded.
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