Industry Insights

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Even Data Scientists Aren’t Safe

April 17, 2020

While a month ago we were, for the most part, just starting to see the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on hiring and job searching, the long-term effects of statewide shutdowns and travel restrictions are starting to become more apparent.Our latest survey with the IIA has revealed that more analytics teams are starting to feel the crunch in terms of their hiring and staffing, and we wanted to share a few more tidbits of data that we’ve been gathering as well.

Decline in LinkedIn Job Postings for Data Scientists Leveling Out?

As one way of measuring hiring market impact, a few weeks ago we started conducting daily searches on LinkedIn for postings containing or relevant to the term “Data Scientist”. While LinkedIn’s search tools are not a perfect marker for the availability of all quantitative job openings, as a rough indicator of market activity the decline over the past few weeks has been stark. However, as you can see this past week the numbers have recovered (slightly).While we don’t have corresponding data for other job titles, this downward trend is probably not unique to just data scientist postings, and is likely a reflection of the general job market volatility right now.

Steep Decline in Indeed Job Postings for Data Scientists

We’ve also been conducting a similar search during this timeframe on Indeed, and below you can see that since March 27th the numbers have been in a steady decline. Indeed jobs can be paid slots or scraped from other sources, which is slightly different from LinkedIn’s paid-only approach.This article from Vox shows just how drastically Indeed job postings have fallen year-over-year when compared to this time in 2018 and 2019. While there have been increases for job postings in some industries, hiring demand in certain industries has been hit very hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Data Scientist Job Postings: Thoughts on the Data So Far

While we’re still gathering data on this trend, we wanted to share what we had so far, and offer some theories about what may (or may not!) be happening. It’s important to point out that it’s still too early to say definitively what these numbers mean, but we felt the data was interesting enough to at least share our thoughts below, and see if any of you have any theories!

  1. Companies may still be posting jobs on LinkedIn that they are not actively recruiting for, especially since they may already be committed to paid job slots and want to use them regardless.
  2. Since many of Indeed’s postings are scraped from other job boards, numbers here might not be reflective of actual openings either.
  3. Here at Burtch Works, we’ve received a number of new data scientist jobs just in the past week. Whether that is an early sign of companies easing up on hiring freezes as they adjust to the new COVID-19 paradigm is still too early to tell, but we’re hopeful!

So what do you think is going on here? It’s still early days, but our plan is to keep collecting data to see how this continues to develop. We’ll be sure to keep you posted (pun not intended).