Quantifying the current demand for data scientists

There is quite some marketing material in market around the demand for data scientists --

Data scientist is the sexiest job of 21st century! Data is the oil of the 21st century. US alone might face a gap of 50-60% in analytics talent by 2018. Given the demand and the impact the profile can have - a lot of people are transitioning towards a career in data science.

This blog, is an attempt to bring a data backed lens to the state of demand and supply in data science.

The supply side:

Source: Linkedin search results

Per linkedin, the US has the most # of data scientists separated by a huge margin from India, UK, France. The order of nations by data scientists is not very surprising. However, the big margin between the US & the rest of world in terms of the number of data science professionals is quite surprising.

Let's parse further - # of data scientists by experience level could potentially help us.

It is quite interesting to note that the US, UK, Canada, Australia have a higher % of data professionals who have a total experience of >5 years - whereas markets like India, France & Singapore are skewed more towards the lesser experienced data science professionals.

In a typical industry - one would have expected that the pyramid hierarchy would exist - i.e., higher number of people in the less experience requiring roles & much lower number of people in the high experience requiring roles - however, that is not translating in the numbers that we see above. Maybe, we should be further taking into account that a professional who has a total 10 years of experience might not necessarily have been in data science throughout his tenure & his latest role could be the data scientist role.

The demand side:

Data science talent is considered to be one of the premium talent within industry. Partly, the reason for it being the high number of open jobs given the limited number of supply of data scientists in industry. The following gives a snapshot of the number of current openings per data scientist in each country:

No wonder, data science talent is fiercely contested for - as the number of open roles are ~30% of the total data scientists working currently. The gap would only widen if we consider not just the immediate requirement of companies - but the strategic requirement over the next quarter, half year etc.,

While the number of open roles might be high, lets understand the demand for professionals of varying experience. The following chart gives a breakup of the number of open roles by experience level:

The # of open roles by experience level is a lot more close the pyramid structure that we expect of a typical team.

With the above context, lets understand the roles that have the biggest delta between demand and supply:

Based on the above, we can see that professionals with <5 years experience have a lot more opportunities & hence are hotly contested for in the demand side of industry - especially in countries like the US, UK, India & Germany - given the high # of opportunities & lower supply.

Potentially, as the data scientist gains more experience in the field - he/ she would become a more effective business leader - thereby increasing the scope of responsibilities/ teams and hence the need for highly experienced data scientists (specialists with high experience only in data science).

In a next article, we will be looking into the various skills a typical data scientist might be expected to bring to the table over his/ her tenure.

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