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Securing top talent in BI & data science

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As businesses hunt for the most talented professionals in a candidate-led market, they are increasingly offering flexibility, such as remote or hybrid working, alongside other benefits that could entice talent to join them. This has resulted in many companies in the technology industry turning entire recruitment processes around in a week, just so they didn’t lose out to faster competitors.

There have been some interesting developments in the business intelligence (BI) and data science market over the past year, as new specialist areas have emerged. For instance, reporting, migration, and data warehouse design used to all form part of the role of a single BI developer. Nowadays, we have analyst, engineers and developers that fulfil these three responsibilities, respectively.

With roles in this industry seeing an average salary increase of 12.3%, there are huge opportunities for professionals skilled in data to really level up and progress in 2023. With more data comes more demand and we’re seeing an increase in the number of senior and director roles opening. There really has never been a better time to work in data.

On a national scale, the top three roles that have seen the biggest salary increases over the year are database developers (38.8% growth), BI analysts (26.9%) and data warehouse developers (25%). On the contrary, data scientists and machine learning engineers have dropped in demand with only a 0.1% and 0.6% salary increase, respectively.

There were also different demands and spikes across various regions in the UK. For example, in London, the sharpest salary increases were seen for BI analysts (22%) and data warehouse developers (20.2% increase) – whereas in the Midlands, the biggest salary increases seen were in data engineer (25.3%) and BI manager (20.9%) roles.

Looking at where such roles are more competitive is important, especially for remote-based jobs – over the past year, for example, businesses looking for data scientists are presenting almost a 12% salary increase in the North of England, but a 1.1% decrease in the South of England.

For job seekers, this means there are more options available to them, especially if jobs are remote. For businesses, such fluctuations in salaries across the UK mean that finding talent is harder and that being competitive in an industry fighting for talent is important.

How businesses looking for BI and data science talent can remain competitive

In recent times, more focus has been placed on culture, and since the normalisation of working from home, another important factor for people is work-life balance. Organisations should strive to provide their staff with opportunities for flexibility and a good company culture, on top of a strong salary and benefits offering, if they want to attract, secure, and most importantly, keep the best talent.

This is crucial when you factor in the lack of geographical boundaries when it comes to hiring. With more companies opting for a hybrid working model, businesses are now competing UK-wide as opposed to just locally.

Businesses that are committed to investing in their data strategy should hire fast and allow the employee to be part of the scoping and specification stage of the project they are likely to be working on. Not many companies are doing this, but by involving the new hire in this way, you’re achieving two critical outcomes. The first is providing a hugely desirable opportunity for the specialist to be part of an end-to-end project; the second is retention – candidates care about their work and if they are engaged in delivering a project, will be less likely to pursue other opportunities.

We are also seeing more and more businesses switching to a self-service environment, which is impacting the actual ‘analytical’ emphasis on roles.  Self-service BI aims to make it easier for employees to get useful business insights from the data collected in BI systems. This means roles will have more focus on the infrastructure, the supply of ready-made components, and more complex data sets as simple tasks can now be outsourced to users. With the ever-changing nature of the technology, businesses need to make sure they are hiring the talent that matches the changing, in-demand skill sets.

Combating cost-of-living

Economic uncertainty is going to be a key driver in how the recruitment market will look this year. While the cost-of-living crisis has impacted much of the UK economy, it hasn’t appeared to slow down the BI & data science market, but it’s difficult to predict how this will play out as we go further into the year.

Because of this, looking at Reed’s annual salary guide survey, we reveal that a big driver for professionals wanting to change jobs is financial reasons, perhaps unsurprisingly as the cost-of-living crisis bites. The top reason for those wanting to move work was due to the pay they are receiving not being sufficient enough (19%). For candidates in, in-demand roles where we’ve seen big salary increases, it can make financial sense to look for a new opportunity.

But the push for ‘purpose’ within one’s everyday job remains strong post-pandemic, with 17% stating they are considering a new job as it is time for them to move on. The third most popular reason relays back to salary again, with 15% stating there is better pay for them elsewhere; this is closely followed by 13% claiming the benefits and salary they receive are not good enough – highlighting the importance for businesses to strike the right balance between giving a strong salary and offering desired benefits.

Chris Adcock
Chris Adcock
Managing Director at Reed Technology

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