Skip to main content

If you’re leading data analytics at a large enterprise, then you know the success of your program hinges on your ability to recruit and retain data talent — but doing so is growing tougher every day. 

As more companies push to undergo digital transformations, the demand for data-focused staff — particularly data scientists, architects, and engineers —  is extremely high. In fact, in 2022, data scientist was ranked among the top three careers in the U.S., according to Glassdoor

Jeremy Stanley, Vice President of Data Science at Instacart, spoke to this competitive market in a First Round Review article. He suggested that strong data science candidates receive three or more offers, and as a result, hiring success rates are commonly below 50%. 

The answer to successfully recruiting top-tier data candidates isn’t as simple as higher compensation, and, frankly, you could expense endless resources and time trying to compete with tech giants like Facebook or Google.

As your organization’s data lead, how can you grow and retain a talented and diversified pool of employees to successfully implement your data and analytics strategies?

Leveraging out-of-the-box approaches

Your go-to efforts to recruit talent likely revolve around leveraging job boards such as LinkedIn or Glassdoor, social media accounts, or agencies. Yet, trying more creative approaches could garner better results. 

During a recent Business of Data panel, Director of Data and Analytics at Openreach, Nirali Patel shared some of the out-of-the-box approaches she’s taking to attract talent. 

“We [reach talent] through things like webinars and online seminars for graduates to come and spend the afternoon with one of our analysts. We’re trying different mediums and moving away from your traditional advertising,” she said. 

Participating in public webinars and attending various networking events can also be effective tools for increasing your organization’s industry presence.

Many in the industry are also finding it useful to encourage interest from less traditional outlets. This effort will not only increase your talent pool but could also help you attract more diverse candidates. 

These non-traditional employees may or may not hold a degree in a related field, but have gone through professional boot camps or various training programs. 

Notably, several billion-dollar companies have launched training programs to upskill technical employees. Since 2016, Airbnb has offered six-month paid programs in both engineering and data science through its Airbnb Connect initiative, with the goal to increase the recruitment of underrepresented groups. 

If you’re working to attract emerging talent, you may also find it helpful to refocus your collegiate recruiting efforts. If you’re struggling to compete with well-known brands and tech giants, you might try recruiting at smaller universities, particularly near your company’s headquarters.

Using the right incentives to attract and grow staff

If you’re working to grow your team, then you’ve probably already learned that attracting talent is only half the battle.

Tessa Xie, Data Science Manager at Cruise, recently dove into retention rates for technical talent in an article she wrote for Medium. Tessa evaluated 2020 survey results on StackOverflow — a platform where programmers ask and answer questions.

Out of the 2,757 respondents, over 40% said they were satisfied with their current roles. However, more than 70% were interested in new opportunities and said they would consider leaving if another attractive option was put on their radar. 

Not only do you face the possibility of losing an employee in this competitive market, but this industry also sees a lot of upward trajectories. It’s not uncommon for product data scientists to move up to senior product data roles in as little as 18 months, according to an article by the recruitment company, Xcede.

Given these challenges, how can you hold onto the staff once they’re on board? 

There are a number of more obvious benefits that come to mind: paid time off, internal recognition programs, and bonuses, to name a few. However, company culture, professional growth opportunities, and tech are equally important incentives. 

Within StackOverflow’s survey, office environment and language, frameworks, and technologies ranked among the highest job evaluation factors, and Tessa personally related to this sentiment.

“Thinking back to my previous life as a data science consultant and how frustrated I was when I encountered clients who consider PDF as their ‘robust datasets storage’,” she recalled. 

Flexible time and hybrid or remote work options also ranked highly — benefits that have only gained more traction since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Learning from your peers

Recruiting and retaining data talent may be a lofty challenge, but it’s one you aren’t facing alone. 

Much like Airbnb and its Connect program, enterprises are finding creative ways to stay ahead of the recruitment game. Benchmarking strategies with leaders like you can be an effective way to keep your ear to the ground in this growing industry. 

Enterprise Data Strategy Board members — senior data leaders at billion-dollar brands — talk about hiring challenges like this and more in their confidential community.

It’s the only place you can go to get an inside scoop on how billion-dollar brands are addressing this challenge.

Interested in learning more about membership?

As a leader, your mission is important. We’re here to help you win.

Apply to Join