Big Data skills gap 'holding all sectors back'

Opportunities for IT contractors to leverage Big Data for their own ends still seem abundant, as a lack of relevant skills in the area is “holding all sectors back,” a UK-wide study shows.

In fact, three in five organisations say they lack the skills to ethically, responsibly and compliantly use their customers’ data, found the study by EMC Corporation.

Frustratingly for the organisations, which each had over 250 staff and operated in one of five sectors, roughly the same proportion said Big Data could unlock their next wave of growth.

A league table in the study suggests Retail is the likeliest sector to be on the cusp of such growth, as it has the highest score for Big Data on skills, leadership and infrastructure.

Banks and financial institutions are at the table’s bottom, as Financial Services has the fewest points for Big Data infrastructure and the joint lowest score on leadership, as well as skills.

Financers’ ‘skills challenge’ with Big Data revolves around regulatory restrictions, evidenced by the 37 per cent of them who raised compliance concerns as a barrier to using data better.

Another low-ranking user in EMC’s Big Data league table is the Public Sector, where the biggest skills challenge revolves around hiring IT workers to manage projects in the space.

With a total score in the table of 25, compared to the public sector’s score of 24, the ‘IT and Telco’ sector appears similar, yet it has a greater desire to hire techies for Big Data jobs.

In particular, 63 per cent of media, tech and telecoms firms are hiring workers able to manage Big Data projects, whereas only 51 per cent of public sector outfits are doing the same.

Taxpayer-funded bodies are however pursuing an additional strategy to plug their Big Data Skills gap – retraining existing employees and engaging “data scientists.”

But the hint from those who are leading the way on Big Data - retailers - is that the candidate pool is nearly dry, given that about a third of them are offering Data Science apprenticeships.

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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