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The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the hiring market have shifted significantly over the past few years. During the immense disruption of 2020, many professionals chose to put planned job searches on hold, while some data teams were more impacted than others in terms of their hiring plans and response to the initial crisis.

As the economic recovery picked up in 2021, we saw more data teams planning to hire. There was also massive turnover in the hiring market, dubbed the Great Resignation, as many professionals resumed their job searches or sought to change their working situation due to other pandemic-related factors. In fact, media publications have cited a number of key hiring market impacts right now including:

  1. Employees are prioritizing their personal lives, with many searching for better working conditions and better pay – Bloomberg
  2. Both resignations and job openings were near record highs in February, and the layoff rate was near a historic low – CNBC

 

As anyone reading this is undoubtedly aware, the continued impacts from the Great Resignation have also been making huge ripples for data science, analytics, and data engineering teams. We know that the vast majority of data teams are looking to hire this year, so we spoke to our recruiting teams to get a sense of what’s happening in the market right now, and how the Great Resignation is resulting in higher demand for data professionals as well as spurring higher salaries.

 

The Great Resignation: Data Science & Data Engineering Market Trends

1. Since Many Changed Jobs in 2021, There are Less Data Pros on the Market in 2022

Last year we saw many data professionals changing jobs as well as getting promotions from companies aiming to retain their staff amidst the flurry of job market activity. The reasons for this were varied, and when we surveyed our network of data scientists, analytics professionals, and data engineers to see what encourages them to stay at their jobs, we found that their key concerns were compensation, good management, flexibility and WFH (work from home or remote work) options, and interesting work or projects. Unfortunately for those looking to hire, this has led to fewer professionals on the market in 2022, and at times a lower inventory of available candidates.

2. Frustrated Hiring Managers and Overwhelmed Employees Left Behind

With less data professionals actively looking in 2022 and so much turnover last year, this has led to some frustration both for hiring managers as well as the employees who stuck around, and now may be tasked with picking up the slack from coworkers who left. This can also greatly delay new projects, either because data teams simply don’t have enough people to complete their work, or because they’re having to spend more time on training to get new hires ramped up to place where the previous employee was.

3. An Increase in Counter Offers as Teams Fight to Retain Current Staff

We’ve also seen an increase in counter offers compared to previous years, as data teams try to retain their talent. Many companies are doing this even knowing it may be just a temporary fix, because unless the initial reason that the employee wanted to leave can be addressed, a counteroffer is usually not going to be a long-term solution to staffing issues.

4. With So Many Opportunities, Data Professionals Value a Swift Interview Process

While we’ve always encouraged data teams to prioritize a time-efficient hiring process, in years past it was not uncommon to see additional steps such as coding challenges or other methods to evaluate talent before hiring. However, our recent experience has shown that, with so many opportunities available, data professionals are quick to jump out of the interview process if things are not moving swiftly enough. A 2-hour coding challenge may have been tolerable before, but now it can be enough to deter candidates from continuing the process, because patience for a lengthy process or extra steps has been diminished.

5. Remote Work Remains a Point of Contention Between Companies and Employees

Remote flexibility is a top priority for many data professionals, and there seems to be at times a disconnect between companies and employees about this approach. In fact, many candidates are on the market for remote-only positions, but our 2022 data shows that the majority of companies are not open to hiring fully remote staff.

While some companies will say they can hire remote for rockstar talent, most are still aiming for in-office staff, at least part of the time. In the past few weeks, we’ve also seen data professionals who started their jobs remotely who are now being asked to return to the office (and in some cases relocate to do so), which has encouraged them to go back on the job market. In some cases, even employees who are based locally don’t necessarily want to go back to the office after experiencing the flexibility of working from home.

6. Hybrid Schedules Appealing to Majority of Data Professionals

Even the data professionals who are open to working at least some days in the office tend to prefer at least some form of hybrid schedule flexibility. Our research in 2021 found that the vast majority of data scientists and data engineers want some sort of hybrid office policy, and this lines up with the results from other surveys that we’ve seen over the past year. Gone are the days of enduring a commute to spend five days a week in the office – data professionals have embraced the flexibility that a hybrid schedule offers.

7. Companies are Trying to Reach a Wider Pool of Candidates

Although some companies may have unrealistic expectations about the low inventory of candidates, others have been trying new ways to reach a wider talent pool, including visa transfers and being more open to remote candidates when they might not have considered these options before. At the moment, we’re seeing companies that are strictly against WFH or flexible work policies struggling to find talent willing to commit to full-time office schedules.

8. Glassdoor Use Rises as Candidates Weigh Options

Much like in other fields, the pandemic caused many data professionals to self-reflect about their work situation, which in many cases has spurred a shift in priorities. As mentioned earlier, more candidates are valuing work-life balance and flexible work arrangements like WFH or hybrid models, and we’ve also seen some that are specifically targeting their ideal industry or company rather than settling for any position that is available. We’ve also heard from many candidates that they’ve been using sites like Glassdoor to evaluate the work situation at companies before accepting positions.

 

The Great Resignation will undoubtedly continue to impact the hiring market in the months to come, and we’re always continuing to examine these shifts as they happen. Next week we’ll be sharing some of our tips for data teams looking to mitigate the impacts of the Great Resignation on employee retention and how it’s affecting hiring in 2022, so keep an eye on the blog for our next update!

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