Tackling the Data Scientist Shortage - Upskill Your Current Workforce
Many enterprises worldwide are in the midst of a digital transformation to establish a scaled, big global data and artificial intelligence capability across dozens of countries and millions of customers. Some have invested years in hiring experts in data handling, aggregating trillions of data records, and building some of the largest data platforms in the world,
But with these engines now in place, enterprises increasingly need capable data scientists who can extract valuable insights from the data and deploy them to benefit the business. The problem: Where to find them?
Global data science talent is exceedingly rare and hard to acquire. O’Reilly’s 2021 AI Adoption in the Enterprise survey stated: “This year, the most significant barrier to AI adoption is the lack of skilled people and the difficulty of hiring. That shortage has been predicted for several years; we’re finally seeing it.”
The backlog of open data science positions at companies all over the globe is rapidly lengthening. Demand is insane. Talent supply is scarce, and data scientists are picky about the companies they want to work for. The most prominent companies in the world are doing everything they can to secure these scarce resources, paying exorbitant salaries and often hoarding riches in this area. AIpaygrad.es, an independent site that tracks AI job postings and salaries, reports that an AI engineer's median annual salary is roughly $365k, with Facebook and Google offering $1M+ to more senior-level researchers. At the same time, other enterprises go hungry for expertise.
Enterprises, however, have a secret weapon they are overlooking: their employees.
Encompassing tens to hundreds of thousands of people in each organization, these talented employees bring a wealth of institutional knowledge and a strong understanding of the specific dynamics of the business. Among them are people with computer science, statistics, mathematics, analysis, and logic who serve in other roles in finance or business analysis or doing SQL coding or simply people who possess these skills but are currently on a different career path.
Using upskill programs, enterprises can find these diamonds in the rough capable of data science work with the proper training and mentoring. Moreover, these programs can be designed around critical business use cases and use actual company data. The double benefit is that they get new data science capabilities within the enterprise, and the newly trained data scientists also now know the company data and how to work with it. So instead of hiring a data scientist and trying to teach them the business, you take someone who knows the business and teach them data science.
These programs aren’t just valuable for their ROI gained from data science initiatives; they also create happier, more loyal employees. Participants that have worked directly through Launchpad’s Upskill programs say that getting hands-on, practical training and knowledge is the best thing that has happened to them in their years at the company and express gratitude for the opportunity to transform their careers.
People have talked about AI reducing jobs for the longest time, but the opposite seems to be occurring. Forbes’ article “AI Creates Job Disruption But Not Job Destruction” their coverage cites a Columbia Business School study that found “ investing in AI, whether in terms of technology or skills, boosted revenue by around 15%, while also allowing firms to expand their product range and the markets they sell into.”
Companies and brands investing in their talent and technology are competing at a higher level and giving their staff opportunities to step up and remake themselves. So if your company is looking for help with your data science resources, you may already have the people and talent you need; you just need an upskill program to find them and transform them.