The era of big data represents a major opportunity for the UK in the new information economy, but new research shows companies may miss out on it due to a lack of skilled data workers entering the workforce.
Britain’s businesses are in danger of falling foul of a major skills gap within their workforce, according to a new report.
Data has been described as the ‘new oil’ but it requires analytics to be applied to the data so that organisations acquire the power to know much more about their business and customers.
The report, backed by the country’s leading experts, is predicting there will be a 160% increase in demand for big data specialists from 2013 to 2020, while UK employment is set to rise by 6% for the same period.
Worryingly, over three-quarters (77%) of all big data positions are already considered by employers to be difficult to fill.
The demand for big data professionals in the UK has created a salary bubble, particularly in the South East and London, enabling them to command more than double the average wage, according to the report published by SAS and the Tech Partnership.
It predicts that by 2020 there will be more than 300,000 big data specialists, and 56,000 job opportunities a year.
Big data is all around – it’s not just data businesses generate themselves but includes, for example, social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Additionally the amount of data is going to continue increasing exponentially – by 2020 it will be 50 times what it is today. Yet despite the technology to harness value from data being widely available, the UK is not producing enough graduates with the ability to analyse it.
To tackle this problem, the UK government has recognised that it needs to work together with businesses and academia, the report concludes.
One initiative will see the development of new qualifications in Big Data Analytics and new apprenticeships are being developed to increase the numbers skilled in this area. The recent introduction of computing lessons in primary schools should also begin to lay the foundations for children’s interest in big data.