75% of businesses lack new data science skills

Three-quarters of UK and US firms report a lack of new data science skills, according to a survey from SAP.


Three-quarters of UK and US firms report a lack of new data science skills, according to a survey from SAP.

The finding from the survey of 300 businesses in retail, fast-moving consumer goods and financial services was similar to those of an SAS and e-skills UK study that found that six out of 10 companies last year had problems hiring the technical skills they needed for data analytics.

According to the latest survey, 84 percent would like specific training to integrate analytics into their day-to-day work, as most businesses (92 percent) said that they had seen the amount of data grow in their organisations over the last 12 months.

The businesses estimated that 28 percent of the workforce currently uses predictive tools regularly. They expect this to rise to 42 percent over the next five years. However, SAP believes that predictive analytics technologies - like its flagship in-memory platform - will mean that the skills needed to analyse data will not need to be highly technical.

James Fisher, VP of marketing for analytics solutions at SAP, said: “Getting access to, and making sense of, data has until recently been seen as a complex and highly-skilled task, delivered by people with advanced degrees in statistics and prior analytical experience.

“This dynamic simply can’t scale at the pace of the business, but now, with the availability of new predictive analytics technologies, for the first time people at all levels of the business can self-service their need for insight.”

Aidan Anglin, chairman of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s Technology Sector Group, said: “The most important qualifications for these types of data analysis roles might not be academic degrees, certifications or job experience but so called ‘softer skills’ - curiosity, creative flair, the ability to visualise and to communicate clearly with non-technical people throughout the business.”

Meanwhile, the survey suggested that US companies were more advanced than their UK counterpart in their current use of predictive analytics in predicting customer needs (80 percent in the UK versus 90 percent in the US) and new market trends (78 percent versus 90 percent). US firms also report fewer barriers around skills and resource challenges.

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