As you may know, Burtch Works has teamed up with the IIA (International Institute for Analytics) to survey quantitative professionals about the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on analytics teams across the US.
This post shares data gathered from our week three survey, including approximately 100 analytics professionals across the US, who agreed to have their answers tracked over the coming weeks. These answers were gathered from April 3 – April 10th, and a PDF report version can also be downloaded for free here, which includes more information about the sample and survey methodology.
Impact to Analytics Workload
There has been less panic over time, as the chart below shows a drop in organizations being asked to drop everything to focus only on the crisis. By week 3, only 6.5% of companies were in a panic state. At the same time, there was a small increase in the percentage of organizations doing at least some crisis-focused analytics. Analytics teams in a purely business as usual mode dropped to 26.9% by week 3.
Impact to Analytics Staffing & Hiring
As the crisis continues, it can be seen below that staffing impacts have risen notably. The percentage of respondents with no staffing impact dropped from 55.6% in the first week to 39.8% in the third week. Additionally, the percentage of those with either some or substantial cuts rose from 20.7% to 37.6%. This represents nearly a doubling of staffing impacts in just a two-week period! We can also see that large companies have been much less impacted thus far than small companies.
Impact on Analytics Staffing & Hiring: Industry Trends
While the sample size is not large enough to examine granular trends in a broad swath of industries, there were a few insights on staffing & hiring in particular areas that stood out when we dug into the data, which seem to also line up with what media sources have been reporting so far:
- The majority of analytics teams at financial services organizations, especially larger ones, have not been impacted by layoffs or furloughs just yet.
- Teams at smaller tech companies were more likely to be impacted than larger ones.
- Analytics teams in essential retail have not been as impacted as specialty retail (i.e. hardware stores vs. clothing).
- Of the analytics teams in our sample that fell into the pharmaceuticals/insurers/medical providers & devices category, none so far have been impacted by furloughs or layoffs.
Obviously this is likely to change as weeks go on, so we’ll see how these trends evolve as the COVID-19 impact travels even more broadly through the economy.
Use of Analytics to Address the Crisis
Unfortunately, the prevalence of executives not making use of analytics for decisions has increased. By week 3, 52.7% of respondents felt that at least some executives were not relying on analytics as they should. Some of this could be due to the pure volume of decisions that have to be made in a tight timeframe, which doesn’t allow time for the creation and usage of proper analytics.
As anticipated, the impact of the crisis on analytics and data science organizations is becoming more visible as the weeks pass. By week 3, the number of companies with staffing impacts has almost doubled to nearly 40%. It is also perhaps not surprising that large companies are thus far weathering the storm a bit better than small companies. One high point is that while nearly 75% of organizations have been pulled into crisis-oriented analytics, there are still very few in a pure panic mode where everything is focused on the crisis.