Contractors with big data expertise needed

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Umbrella company contractors, sole traders and people working as limited companies who have expertise in big data are needed among a number of companies at the moment.

A UK-wide study by EMC Corporation has found that many sectors in the country are being held back by the skills shortage when it comes to leveraging big data.

Results of the Big Data League Table show that three out of five organisations do not have the skills to ethically, responsibly and compliantly use data from their customers.

However, the same portion of these organisations, each of which employed more than 250 staff, said that big data could be key to unlocking the next wave of growth. These organisations were gathered from five different sectors.

Close to half of respondents said they had no experience in data analytics platforms and 42 per cent said their IT infrastructure was holding them back from improving their data analysis.

The five sectors that were studied were put in order of big data readiness, with a score worked out based on the criteria of culture, leadership, skills and infrastructure.

Retail was at the top of the table, having gained the highest scores for leadership and skills and sharing the highest score for infrastructure with manufacturing. The sector gained a total score of 29, while manufacturing came in second with 27.

IT and telecommunications were in third place with a score of 25, the public sector was in fourth at 24 while the financial sector was in last place at 23. On average, the score was 26, which means that IT was below average.

For the financial sector, the biggest challenge presented when it comes to leveraging big data relates to the regulatory restrictions in the sector. This was pointed out by 37 per cent of businesses, who cited compliance concerns as a barrier to getting more use out of data.

Often it has been reported that businesses are aware of what a boon big data can be but are unable to find people with the appropriate skills to leverage this technology. This is buoyed by the fact that the IT sector is struggling to find the right talent for some of its jobs.

On the other hand, this can be good news for contractors, who have been in higher demand as a result of the skills shortage. In turn, some have been able to raise their rates to reflect how few people are available to do this job.

According to the EMC survey, at present, 38 per cent of UK businesses are currently recruiting data scientists or business intelligence experts.

Additionally, the public sector got a low score in the league table because of the challenge of hiring IT workers who could handle big data analysis. Half of public sector organisations surveyed said they are looking to hire experts in this area.

Close to two thirds of media, technology and telecommunications firms surveyed are hiring workers that would be able to manage big data projects.

Taxpayer funded bodies are also looking to retrain existing employees so that they can become experts in big data.

By Victoria McDonnell

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