There is no skills shortage in Data Analytics Recruitment….just inadequate hiring processes

There is a popular current narrative about skills shortages of Data & Analytics talent. It tells that there are just not enough people with the skills to manage the data, analyse the data, sell the projects, lead the divisions, grow the teams, run the companies & sit on the boards.

It is often a helpful narrative that allows managers and executives within companies to easily explain the lack of growth in their teams & businesses. In other words, “it’s not my fault, there just isn’t the talent out there.”

This is not true.

Google, Amazon & Facebook. These companies have had no talent shortage issues in either the US or the UK. What all these companies have in common is that they see talent as a primary asset, and have best in class hiring processes in place.

Of course, it is a great advantage to have the brand power of being one of the world’s biggest and most celebrated tech firms. Anyone would take a recruitment call about these firms given the chance, and instead of going out to market a lot of the best people come to them.

But the point still stands that if they are having no difficulty hiring the best talent in Data Analytics and at a suitable volume, then the Talent must be out there.

The truth is that most companies have an inadequate process in place to identify, assess & secure the best talent; be that whether they are hiring for a new CEO or a new Data Scientist.

Lou Adler says that you only need 4 things for a successful hiring process:

1.      A Good Job

2.      An engaged search committee / hiring manager

3.      A knowledgeable & professional recruiter (Internal or External)

4.      A comprehensive process of candidate identification and assessment

In my experience, you can even get away with not having the first three if you have number 4 in place. But it is number 4 that is so often lacking; only perhaps 1 in 30 companies get this right.

If you have been struggling to secure the right talent in the Data Analytics sector, whether that be technical, functional or commercial, I would urge you to consider 3 things:

  •      Is there a process in place that has allowed us to identify all the people either doing the job, or who could be promoted into the job within our direct competitor companies or periphery companies?
  •     Is there an assessment structure in place that then allows us to identify who will be the very best candidate for our company from the list of potentials?
  •     Are we offering the people we are trying to attract something better than what they currently have? How are we communicating career trajectory? (Often a role is not filled not due to lack of available talent but because a company is offering only a parallel move to the type of people it’s trying to attract)

If you are able to honestly give yourself 10 out of 10 on all the 3 criteria above, then OK maybe you might have a ‘talent shortage’ on your hands. If not then it might be time to chuck out the ‘talent shortage’ narrative and take a look at what you can do to optimise your hiring processes in Data Analytics & Data Science recruitment