Data Science Demand Leads Job Projections

shutterstock_135445769Data affects our personal lives and the businesses we run or work for. We read statistics about food we eat, methods of travel, and effectiveness of medical treatments. Data science is the field that extracts information from data and evaluates that information to give insight. This insight from data offers businesses an opportunity to operate more efficiently and effectively, and the need for this insight offers vast opportunities for employment.

Statistics from the SHRM survey Jobs of the Future: Data Analysis surrounding data science show how vital this field has become in today’s businesses.
• In the past five years 65 percent of organizations increased the number of positions requiring data analysis skills
• In the next five years 59 percent of businesses expect to increase the number of positions requiring data analysis skills
• 82 percent of organizations currently have or expect to have positions that require data analysis
• 78 percent of organization report difficulty in hiring data analysis positions

There is a high demand for employees with data science skills. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) the number of undergrads in statistics, has increased by more than 300 percent since the 1990s. But fast changing technologies and ways of doing business are creating an even bigger demand than this growth can fill.

“Although data show that the number of students pursuing degrees in statistics is growing, and has been for more than 15 consecutive years, there is real concern that this growth may not be enough to satisfy the high demand for statisticians and other data analysts across all sectors of the economy,” says Ron Wasserstein, Executive Director of the American Statistical Association. “It is important that employers and the statistical community work together to encourage more students to study the statistical sciences so that supply begins to meet demand.”

Labor market forecasters predict that data science jobs will grow faster than average, at 11 percent compared to 7 percent for other job categories, in the decade from 2014-2024, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The SHRM survey shows growth projections from 2014-2024 for individual data-related jobs. It predicts 33.8 percent growth for statisticians, 30.2 percent growth for operations research analysts, and 18.6 percent growth for market research analysts and marketing specialists.

However, these projected job openings might be difficult to fill for two reasons, according to Jobs of the Future: Data Analysis Skill. First, data science jobs require specific skills and education. This means employees must have high postsecondary degrees or certifications. Second, fast-paced changes in technology create another demand for employees. Those in data science positions will need to upgrade their skills and knowledge through continual training and education.

The need for these highly skilled positions presents an opportunity for businesses. Through tuition assistance programs, employers can address the challenge of immediate analytical needs and limited qualified workers. The need for these positions is growing faster than the students who are choosing this field, and these positions require high skill levels. Employers will benefit from encouraging current employees to further their education. Rather than waiting for the limited graduates who possess the necessary skills, encouraging employees to use TAP benefits helps employers find the right talent faster.

TAP benefits will also help businesses keep up with increasing and changing demands of data science positions. Data science workers will need continual education to keep up with fast-changing technology. Businesses that encourage employees to continue their education will be able to get the best value from data they collect and the information it gives them.