Two Interesting Articles Related to the Analytics Talent Gap

Several key bullet points:

  • People who wield computers to analyze large amounts of digital information are  in high demand.420
  • Businesses today control massive and growing streams of information that flow  from cash registers, patient records, smartphones, warehouses, the sensors in  your Nikes, databases, Facebook and good old-fashioned loyalty cards.
  • The challenge is finding people who can put it all together and make better  strategy. Everyone from the Central Intelligence Agency to Gander Mountain is on  the hunt.
  • “I would challenge you to describe to me an organization of any size in any  industry or not-for-profit setting that will not be leveraging this,” said Isaac  Cheifetz, a headhunter working to find the Mayo Clinic a head of information  management and analytics. “Name one. I can’t.”
  • Businesses have the data to keep sale racks thin, streamline shipping and get  more people to click ads. What they need are better analysts. It’s a new kind of  job, and it’s coming to your workplace if it’s not already there.
  • The McKinsey Institute predicted in 2011 that a big-data boom would create up to  190,000 new deep-analytics positions in the United States, and demand for 1.5  million data-savvy managers.
  • Fifty-five percent of big data analytics projects are abandoned.
  • The most significant challenge with analytics projects, according to the survey? Finding talent. Most (80%) of the respondents said that the top two reasons analytics projects fail are that managers lack the right expertise in-house to “connect the dots” around data to form appropriate insights, and that projects lack business context around data.
  • “A popular approach is to hire for skills,” said Roberts. “You’re going to have a lot of failures if you just say ‘I need SPSS, R, SAS’ or some other skill. Business and technology are evolving so fast now. You need someone [who] is compelled to learn and keep up with what is new. So, it’s the curiosity to learn the skill that is the fingerprint. Not the skill itself.”
  • Creativity and curiosity, she says, are far more important than established skills.
  • Another misstep is not recognizing the difference between candidates being curious or just detail-oriented — both very different attributes. The way to determine the difference? Asking questions that get at curiosity.
  • Finally, HR managers should be aware that analytical professionals are just that — analytical. As a general rule, they are not likely to be charismatic and may not present well in an interview.

These bullet points are very similar to the section of my Introduction to Analytics PowerPoint about who are analysts and why we need more of them!


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