Knowledge Center: Expert Guidance

Big Data & Analytics

Three Reasons Executives Should Fear Losing Their “Big Data” Talent

Subscribe to Big Data & Analytics 11/30/2012 Joshua M. Clarke

It comes as no surprise that most of my conversations about analytics talent of late are focused on the question of acquisition - How do I find the right person? But talent acquisition is only part of the story. Successful companies today need to also build a talent strategy that focuses equally, if not more so, on retention. Still, I've been surprised to learn how few companies are focused on it.

Given the current talent pool in this very niche market, retaining your top analytics talent should be something that keeps executives up at night. Here are three reasons why:

  1. More big data means an increased demand for those who can interpret it.
    To describe the current talent acquisition climate for analytics leaders as an arms race might not be too much of an exaggeration. Hardware, software and services businesses are investing in rapidly expanding big data and analytics capabilities and practices. Similarly, corporations are becoming increasingly sophisticated about the value of big data and analytics across sectors as diverse as financial services, CPG, retail, life sciences, public sector and industrial. Simply put – big data and analytics are on the radar of nearly every organization today. And they want your best people.

  2. Lots of demand, little supply of qualified talent.
    If you already have well-versed analytics executives on staff, hang on tight, because there aren’t many of them out there. Much has been written about the dearth of qualified data scientists and ongoing efforts to train future technical talent. What is often under-reported is the even more significant lack of strong commercially-oriented analytics talent. These leaders can play pivotal roles in consulting, account management, client and professional services, to name a few common titles. This hybrid professional – equally comfortable engaging in the technical weeds and with C-level executives – is a rare breed. And it’s this type of commercial analytics talent that has been the focus of nearly every conversation I’ve had with a CEO or head of human capital during the past six months.

  3. Finding the best people is now complicated by a diversified competitive landscape.
    Another factor coming in to play is the increasingly dynamic talent landscape. Companies are no longer competing only with their chief commercial rivals for talent. Exceptional big data and analytics talent is mobile and applicable in diverse settings. Recently, a CEO of an analytics company focused on the health care sector commented that he finds himself competing for talent with companies completely out of his sector. This has put him at a disadvantage given his blind spot around compensation trends in other sectors.

In my next blog post, I will share four strategies any company can leverage to more effectively acquire AND retain the best analytics talent possible.

Joshua M. Clarke Partner +1 617 7376300

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