IT Staffing Report: Sept. 26, 2013

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Big data important, but there's a shortage of skills, survey finds

Big data is a worthwhile investment of time and resources, according to 90 percent of information technology leaders and 84 percent of IT professionals in a new survey by TEKsystems. However, both leaders and professionals say there's a significant shortage of workers with the skills required to take advantage of big data.

“While the promise of big data initiatives are commonly accepted, the organizational readiness is questionable,” said TEKsystems Research Manager Jason Hayman. “The skills organizations need do not necessarily come from the usual IT talent pools and the competition for those skill sets is heated. Organizations need to develop a blended sourcing strategy for hiring the innovative thinkers with backgrounds in mathematics and statistics.”

The survey found 81 percent of IT leaders and 77 percent of IT professionals believe there is a significant shortage of workers with the skills required to plan, execute and take advantage of the potential of big data projects.

According to findings in the survey:

  • More than half of organizations already feel the squeeze, as 56 percent of IT leaders and 57 percent of IT professionals report their organizations find it difficult to retain workers with analytics skills due to mobility issues, such as job hopping or the high demand for their services.
  • Both IT leaders and IT professionals rank “workers with combined IT and business skills (strong aptitudes for business, technology, mathematics and statistics)” as their highest need.
  • IT leaders believe their organizations mostly address the skills required through permanent hiring, training and developing of internal staff, whereas IT professionals believe that their organization normally hires temporary workers to address any skills gaps.
  • IT leaders and IT professionals report the following titles are now associated with big data initiatives: data scientists, chief data officers, metricians, data librarians, data curators, data stewards and forensic librarians.

TEKsystems’ online survey included more than 1,500 IT leaders and 2,000 IT professionals in the U.S. and Canada. TEKsystems, part of the Allegis Group, is the largest IT staffing firm in the United States.

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