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Big data workers earn 20% more

Big data workers earn 20% more

The research also estimates £2.5 billion has already been spent on big data salaries in the UK

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Those skilled in working with big data technologies can earn 20 percent more in pay than other IT staff, according to research from e-skills UK.

The research also estimates £2.5 billion has already been spent on big data salaries in the UK, and that the demand for big data specialists will almost double over the next five years.

Job vacancies for big data roles have increased by 43 percent in the past year and this is set to grow by 92 percent through to 2017.

Big data jobs include specialists who can help manage and analyse unstructured data held on networks and in databases which can be used to improve corporate strategy and benefit sales and marketing departments.

In the past five years there have been over 35,000 advertised vacancies for big data staff in the UK, but this is just the "tip of the iceberg", said e-skills UK. 

A study earlier this year by the Centre for Economics and Business Research estimated that big data could be worth £216 billion to the UK economy over the next five years, and the UK government has been talking up its potential to create large numbers of jobs.

In the majority of cases employers are looking to develop their in-house capacity for handling big data by recruiting developers, architects, analysts and administrators, e-skills UK said.

The data scientist role is also set to emerge over the next five years, although this remains a relatively niche occupation to date, accounting for - at least in name - a very small proportion of overall demand.

One of the major obstacles preventing the UK from harnessing value from data is a lack of analytical skills in the workplace, said e-skills UK. In order to truly exploit the benefits of big data, the UK needs a "new breed" of professionals who are able to "maximise the potential of mass information to give companies significant competitive advantage".

The research was conducted in partnership with business analytics software firm SAS. To help address the lack of graduates in the marketplace with the right big data skills SAS has launched the SAS Student Academy with Birmingham City University.

Professor Melvyn Lees, executive dean of faculty of technology, engineering and the environment at Birmingham City University, said, “The SAS Student Academy will give students what they need to succeed in an increasingly data-driven world."

Karen Price, CEO at e-skills UK, said, “Big data has been important to business thinking for some years, but it has proved difficult to find reliable information on the size and scope of skills needs.

"We are working with SAS to provide key research that will enable employers, academics and students make firm decisions about training and development needs."

To date, another six educational institutions have now agreed to join the SAS Student Academy programme, which includes putting graduates in touch with SAS customers who need big data skills.

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