This October, we’re celebrating Burtch Works’ 10 Year Anniversary! In the past decade we’ve marked numerous accomplishments: expanding our team, creating the Burtch Works Studies, and adding new specialties to the mix, and of course the press mentions and being recognized by Forbes as one of America’s Best Recruiting Firms for the past few years.
Over the past few years especially, the specialty areas we recruit for have also been undergoing dramatic shifts, and what better way to keep our ear to the ground than having thousands of conversations every year with employers and talented professionals in all of these areas? As recruiters, we often say that this profession gives us a unique vantage point on changes happening across a plethora of industries.
So in the interest of sharing our knowledge with all of you, we thought it would be fun to ask each of our recruiters to share their thoughts on a variety of topics. You may recognize their names from some of our content, because we’re always keen to pass along information in the form of our flash survey research, career tips blogs, or the variety of webinars and videos that we record each year. Or, you may have known them for years.
We hope you find their thoughts engaging, and here’s to another 10 years!
1. How has this space changed since you’ve started recruiting?
Flora Jiang, early career data science & analytics – The shift from SAS to open source tools like R and Python has been really interesting to see. And in recent years there’s also been a much greater emphasis on the consultative or storytelling aspect of analytics roles.
Katie Ferguson, early career data science & analytics – I’ve been recruiting in this space for over a decade – analytics has become a household name now!
Heidi Kalish, data science & analytics roles in financial services – Newer tools and the emergence of data science! I’ve been recruiting in analytics for close to two decades, and although financial services firms have always had a wealth of data, the “Big Data” wave really made an impact on how it’s used, the quantity, what data sources are used, etc., and it’s changed what’s possible.
Kit Nordmark, marketing research & consumer insights – The research & insights market is very active right now, so it’s competitive out there! Candidates looking for new roles may come up against strong competition so we’re seeing more steps in the vetting process such as assignments or assessments to gauge a candidates skills before making a hiring decision. And for those looking to hire researchers, strong talent are likely exploring other opportunities and may even be fielding multiple offers, so it’s important to make a good impression throughout the interview process and be ready to move quickly if someone is a great fit.
Linda Burtch, Managing Director, senior level data science & analytics – I’m going to date myself here, but when I started recruiting 30-something years ago analytics was this tiny niche that only a few people knew about. The space has grown exponentially, and as Katie Ferguson pointed out: everyone knows about analytics now! Also data science is everywhere, with a plethora of different applications, and it’s only continuing to expand.
2. What trend have you been excited to see develop over the past few years?
Sandy Marmitt, mid-level data science & analytics – Support for the advanced analytics teams have grown immensely over the years. Companies realize the importance of how data can move their business forward, and the tools and technology has exploded.
Katie Ferguson, early career data science & analytics – The field is evolving so much, everything from new tools to new types of positions, and data science has become so important to how many businesses operate.
Flora Jiang, early career data science & analytics – To build off of what Katie said, it’s not just “tech leaders” focusing on data science anymore. Before there may have been less buy-in, but now everyone recognizes how important quantitative approaches are to maintaining a competitive edge.
Heidi Kalish, data science & analytics roles in financial services – We’re seeing more women in STEM overall, and hand-in-hand with that there have been more women at the executive level and also quantitative hiring managers that we’ve been working with in recent years.
Linda Burtch, Managing Director, senior level data science & analytics – I always said my candidates would be running companies, and now, with data-driven decision-making an absolute must-have in order to stay competitive, having a quantitative focus is crucial to leadership. We’re already seeing more executive leaders coming up through an analytics background, and it’s quite exciting to watch!
3.If you could give one piece of advice to professionals managing their careers, what would you tell them?
Caroline Evans, data engineering – Keep up to date with emerging technologies and be proficient in multiple programming languages, but be aware of non-technical skills too.
Sandy Marmitt, mid-level data science & analytics – Partner with your recruiter, the most successful relationships I’ve had have been when the candidate is honest and forthcoming about their situation and thoughts.
Brian Shepherd, mid-level data science & analytics – Look at recruiters as a resource! Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions, at Burtch Works we’re always happy to share as much as we can about the roles we’re working on and information for your job search. The more open you are about what you’re looking for, the more we can advocate for you with our clients.
Stefan Vallentine, early career data science & analytics – Keep up to date on tools, and make sure you can explain what you’re doing to a layperson! It’s also really important to stay hands-on with the data, too.
Heidi Kalish, data science & analytics roles in financial services – Try to make career planning decisions with long-term planning in mind. Think about where you want to be, and then make strategic choices that will take you there!
Karla Ahern, West Coast data science & analytics roles – When evaluating potential opportunities, be sure to take a step back and look at the whole picture. Yes, compensation is a key part, but really think about all of the components of the role and how they’ll contribute to you day-to-day happiness, skillset, and overall marketability in the future.
Kit Nordmark, marketing research & consumer insights – The best time to look for a new role is before you have to – and that goes for talking to recruiters as well. If you keep an eye on the market and build relationships long before you’re looking to make a move, you’ll have a head start when the time is right. And you never know when a fantastic opportunity might be right around the corner, so why wait to explore it?
4. What do you enjoy about recruiting in your specialty?
Caroline Evans, data engineering – I get to speak to intelligent people every day who are a part of building really exciting products that are or will in the future change the way we do business, manage our health or finances. It’s really interesting stuff and I love learning from my candidates and clients continuously as the space grows and changes.
Karla Ahern, West Coast data science & analytics roles – Having worked in research for a while before becoming a recruiter, it’s really nice to connect with similar people but in different way. And we work with such a diverse group of clients and professionals in a variety industries so it always keeps the conversations interesting! It’s also fun to recruit in such a dynamic space.
Mihir Modi, operations research & supply chain – I enjoy working with and talking to smart, innovative people about the continual evolution of logistics/OR transpiring in real-time, especially given the explosion of e-commerce, which allows for revelatory discussions about the importance of logistics/OR.
Brian Shepherd, mid-level data science & analytics – There is so much going on in the data science space right now! Many different types of companies are jumping in – everything from CPG firms to tech-enabled healthcare providers – and it makes it a very exciting time to be recruiting and involved in the growth in this space.
Stefan Vallentine, early career data science & analytics – Everyone that I talk to in analytics and data science is just really passionate about what they do. It’s fun to work with people who are so engaged with their profession!
Kit Nordmark, marketing research & consumer insights – I am a researcher-turned-recruiter, so having hands-on experience in the marketing research & insights world prior to joining Burtch Works makes it really interesting. I have a passion for the field, so getting to talk to professionals every day and keep a pulse on what’s going on in the industry is really exciting.
5. Looking into the future, what’s something that you think will be different in your specialty?
Caroline Evans, data engineering – I think that the lines between engineering and data science will blur. As companies continue to organize their data and automate certain processes, it will create different types of roles that are needed. Data engineers who aren’t already familiar with machine learning and how to put models into production would be wise to learn more about it!
Mihir Modi, operations research & supply chain – Looking into the future, I think it will be interesting to see how the e-commerce space, particularly shipping, is affected by an increasing focus on mitigating climate change, which is, finally, garnering much deserved attention.
Kit Nordmark, marketing research & consumer insights – Research & insights roles will likely continue to evolve with advancing technology. Interacting with consumers with new and innovative ways will enhance how researchers interact with people and will likely glean even more authentic insights and more quickly than years before. I also think research and insights teams will partner even more closely with data science and analytics groups to holistically drive strategy.
Linda Burtch, Managing Director, senior level data science & analytics – I touched on this in my 2019 Predictions this year, but I really think that regulations like GDPR and the increasing focus on privacy and ethical approaches in data science will be critical for companies to evaluate. Ethics controversies and data breaches can impact an organizations’ appeal to top talent, and I’m thinking we may start to see more leadership roles specifically focusing on data ethics pop up to proactively address these concerns.
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