This post is contributed by the Burtch Works Data Science and Data Engineering Talent Advocate teams.
To measure the hiring demand for data scientists, analytics professionals, and data engineers, we’ve been surveying our data community twice a year to gauge their hiring plans for Q1/2 and then again for Q3/4.
Our survey for the second half of 2022 shows that 81% of data teams were looking to hire data scientists, analytics professionals and data engineers – a slight dip from 83% in Q1/Q2 of last year. However, it is important to note that these figures are based on data collected in the early stages of the ‘Great Resignation’ and all the subsequent job changes that took place last year. So how does the first half of 2023 compare? Has the ‘Great Resignation’ and accelerated job changes impacted hiring plans for this year? Is the looming economic uncertainty coupled with the recent tech layoffs and some hiring freezes impacting future hiring decisions? Let’s dive in.
Hiring on Data Science, Analytics & Data Engineering Teams: Q1 and Q2 of 2023
Our survey data for the first half of 2023 reveals that 25% of data teams are planning to hire, with 51% of teams maintaining their current staffing levels and 24% planning to reduce their hiring in Q1 and Q2 of this year.
Our survey sample included over 150 companies across the U.S., and it is notable that despite the potential economic uncertainty, a quarter of all teams are still planning to grow and increase their data professional headcount.
There has also been a slight decrease in permanent hiring since our last survey. 63% of teams responded that they are only looking for permanent hires in Q1/Q2 of 2023, compared to 78% in Q3/Q4 of last year. This points to more companies considering contract staffing solutions which offers more flexibility and helps to counteract economic uncertainty.
Responses to our third question, regarding the focus of the hiring, revealed that adding to headcount (27%), backfilling due to attrition (52%), and temporary/project-based hiring (21%) are all significant factors in the hiring plans of data teams in Q1/Q2. The long-term implications of the ‘Great Resignation’ and the high amount of job changes across the market last year are still being felt, and backfilling remains a critical aspect of the hiring process for many organizations.
Potential Economic Downturn and its Impact on Hiring in Q1/Q2
Many pundits have claimed the economy is showing signs of weakening and headlines have been flooded with major tech companies and most recently other industries announcing layoffs. In response to our fourth question, 40% of data teams shared that the upcoming economic uncertainty has caused them to alter their hiring plans, 36% responded that their plans have somewhat shifted and 24% have revealed that their hiring plans have not been impacted by the potential economic shift.
When asked about their hiring plans in the event of an economic downturn within the next six months, the majority of our survey sample shared that they will only hire when someone leaves (36%), they have no anticipated changes to their hiring plans (32%), or they will freeze all hiring (25%). Only 7% of the sample expressed that they plan to lay off employees should an economic downturn occur in Q1/Q2.
As we are aware, the long-term effects of the ‘Great Resignation’ and the immense hiring that took place last year are still impacting our data community and the hiring market even as potential economic instability persists. It is important to note that current and upcoming shifts in the market will affect some organizations and industries more than others. Despite the uncertainty, one thing remains clear – the demand for data scientists, analytics professionals, and data engineers remains high as organizations continue to prioritize a data-driven culture and digital transformation efforts. It is also worth noting that the data science, analytics and data engineering fields have been relatively resilient to the impacts of economic downturns and it is industry agnostic.
However, it is crucial for job seekers to stay informed and adaptable to the changing market trends, as well as continuously developing their skillsets to remain competitive. Data professionals who consider contract and contract-to-hire options could develop important skills while obtaining an opportunity for employment that could lead to a fulltime position or another contract position with a different company once the current assignment ends. Similarly, employers should also be aware of the shifting market conditions and adjust their recruitment strategies accordingly to attract and retain top talent. While the current hiring market may be impacted by ongoing economic uncertainty, there are still plenty of opportunities for data professionals who are willing to adapt and stay informed.
Burtch Works has been collecting data on compensation for our specialty fields and talent communities since 2013, and as career advocates who spend thousands of hours every year talking to employers and data professionals in these areas, we’re always keen to share our insights on how the market is shaping up or how compensation inflation is evolving. While it is too soon to say with certainty what the remainder of 2023 will bring, we will continue to monitor the shifts and trends in the data and analytics hiring market closely and will report back with findings as they unfold.
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