Want to hire a big data team? So does everyone else. As a fast-growing field that gives companies a competitive edge, focusing on big data is a great business strategy. Unfortunately, the big data talent shortage is becoming a big problem—especially for companies that don’t have the budget to attract top applicants. An MIT study from 2015 showed that 40% of businesses are having trouble finding and retaining talent with big data expertise—and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. So how to approach this problem? Instead of focusing your efforts on hiring from the outside, it may be time to think inside the box and leverage the talent you already have so you can get in on the big data scene without a frustrating and expensive hiring effort.
Assess Your Current Talent
Think about what your current employees bring to the table. While they may not be trained data scientists, some of them might have skills necessary to thrive in data analytics. While it’s tempting to look for the perfect candidate from outside the company who already knows how to wrangle datasets, think of the perks of hiring internally: your current employees are already immersed in the culture and know the company well. Plus, they’ll be easier to retain than a new employee, since they’re already comfortable with the company. It’s often easier to develop the talent you have than to find the right fit from outside.
Invest in Training Programs to Develop Big Data Talent
Today, the best employees expect certain benefits and opportunity. Professional development, advancement opportunities and other non-monetary perks can help keep employees engaged and productive. Investing in big data training programs for your most promising employees can be a great way to approach the big data talent shortage. You could provide tuition reimbursement, and the work flexibility to allow your employees to take courses in big data topics, in preparation for a new role. This investment may seem large, but so is hiring an experienced data scientist, since demand is so high for this position. 92% of data scientists have an advanced degree, and they command top dollar.
Approach Your Employees about Restructuring Responsibilities
If you think some of your team members have big data talent to shoulder some of the tasks for your company, have a chat about restructuring their responsibilities. See if they’re interested in taking on a new role, replacing some of their responsibilities with new big data tasks. When restructuring roles, it’s important to consider salary increases if necessary, and ensure that employees are set up for success by giving them the tools they need to succeed and enough time to complete tasks so they can thrive in their new responsibilities without being overwhelmed.
Stop Struggling and Start Growing
Remember, investments in big data will pay for themselves over time if your employees have the training and talent to pull relevant insights out of the data you collect, and put them into action. Instead of struggling to hire the data scientist everyone wants, direct your dollars to developing the talent you already have, and give your employees a chance at an exciting new opportunity. With the right team, your company can use big data to grow fast and prosper.