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Big data boost for UK job market: SAS and e-skills report

  • Demand for big data staff rose 912% over the past five years
  • Over the past year demand for data scientists has grown by 350%
  • 132,000 new jobs to be created in the big data field in total by 2017

23 January 2013 - e-skills UK, the Sector Skills Council for Business and Information Technology, and SAS, the leader in business analytics software and services, have today published 'Big Data Analytics: An assessment of demand for labour and skills, 2012-2017', which paints a bright future for the big data jobs market, with demand forecast to increase by 92% between 2012 and 2017.

With IT employment set to grow by around 2.5% per annum on average over the next five years, a rate more than three times higher than that predicted for UK employment as a whole, the big data market has been identified as a particular sweet spot. More specifically, demand for big data staff is forecast to increase by 18% per year on average between 2012 and 2017. This would equate to the generation of approximately 132,000 new job opportunities in total by 2017, at which point annual demand for big data staff is forecast to be in the region of 28,000 positions per annum.

The big data skill set

The most commonly advertised roles for big data staff in the third quarter of 2012 were developers (42%), architects (10%), analysts (8%) and administrators (6%). The corresponding technical skills required for big data positions as a whole were NoSQL, Oracle, Java and SQL while the technical process and methodological requirements most often cited by recruiters were in relation to Agile Software Development, Test Driven Development (TDD), Extract Transform and Load (ETL) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).

The value of individuals able to offer a good mix of these skills is recognised by employers, and on average the salaries advertised for big data positions were around 20% higher than that for IT jobs as a whole. A significant pay premium was also observed for all of the major roles demanded by big data recruiters i.e. developers, architects, analysts and administrators.

Demand for data scientists

Over the past five years demand for data scientists has grown by 350%. However, the number of advertised positions for this developing role is limited with, on average, fewer than 20 positions appearing during each quarter of 2012.

Remuneration levels for Data Scientists are high with an average advertised salary for permanent jobs in this field of around £52,500 per annum, compared with £43,500 for IT staff more generally. However, to achieve such a pay premium, applicants for data scientist roles need to demonstrate a wide range of specialist skills and experience, including tech skills such as Hadoop (Pig in particular), Java, NoSQL, and C++, more generic mathematical/statistical skills and, more specifically, data/analytical skills such as data analysis, artificial intelligence and data mining in particular.

"The exponential rise in demand for specialist big data skills despite the currently unfavourable economic climate presents a real opportunity for the UK," commented Mark Wilkinson, managing director, SAS UK & Ireland. "To truly exploit the benefits of big data, the UK needs a new breed of professionals to maximise the potential of information to give companies significant competitive advantage. It's crucial for the industry to work with academic institutions to ensure that today's students are equipped with the skills so clearly in demand by UK businesses."

Karen Price, CEO at e-skills UK, added: "The rapid growth in demand for big data professionals highlighted by this report is illustrative of the increasing importance placed upon big data and analytics by employers operating both within the UK and throughout the rest of the world. The potential to develop competitive advantage and new business opportunities through the exploitation of valuable data assets is immense, but will only be realised if employers are able to draw upon a pool of high calibre IT specialists offering the required range of technical, analytical and business skills identified by this research." 

In December 2012 SAS launched the SAS Student Academy programme, to address the lack of graduates in the marketplace with the right skills needed by industry.


Notes to Editors

To download the full report, please click here.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions, SAS helps customers at more than 60,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world The Power to Know® .

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