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Leading Indicators Predict Data Science & Analytics Salary Increases in 2021

July 21, 2021

This blog is an adapted excerpt from our new 2021 Data Science & Analytics Salary Report, which includes 50+ pages of data and insights on compensation, demographic trends, and other research on hiring trends, WFH, and much more! You can download the full report for free here.We approached this year’s salary data (gathered from May 2020 through April 2021) with great interest, since it was likely that any noticeable pandemic-related compensation impacts would be evident in our analysis. Despite the prevalence of salary cuts during the height of the pandemic in 2020, our data shows that, overall, salaries in this year’s report (which you can download for free here) remained steady at most job levels for both data scientists and analytics professionals. While there were a few job levels that saw a slight median salary increase or decrease over the past year, these changes were not significant.However, given that our sample period represented such an unprecedented economic time and spanned a period of drastic shifts driven by the pandemic-induced recession into an accelerated recovery, we investigated how this impacted salaries.

Examining Salaries from the Pandemic vs. Recovery Economic Periods

Since a significant portion of our sample was gathered during 2021, we were able to compare salaries gathered during what we referred to as the pandemic economic period (including May 2020 through January 2021), vs. the recovery economic period which includes salaries gathered from February 2021 through April 2021.We found that when we examined salary means, as well as salary ranges (1st quartile to 3rd quartile) there was a noticeable upward trend among many job levels for both the data science and analytics samples. While the data in these samples are from relatively early in the economic recovery, these leading indicators appear to show salary growth picking up in 2021, and, when combined with a growing economic boom, we are predicting that this will translate to salary increases in our 2022 report.

For more information about our sample, report, and job level segments, see the end of this post!

For analytics professionals, there was not much of a shift at the higher levels of management or for entry level professionals, but for experienced individual contributors (IC-2 and IC-3) and first-level managers (MG-1), there was a notable upward shift.

For data scientists, there was an upward shift at all levels though the change for entry level (IC-1) and executive level managers (MG-3) was not significant. Similar to others in analytics, however, the most notable increases were for experienced individual contributors (IC-2 and IC-3) and for first-level managers (MG-1).

When examining the quartile ranges (from the 25% quartile to the 75% quartile) for the three job levels where we saw significant growth in average salary (IC-2, IC-3, and MG-1), we can see a positive shift in overall salary ranges when moving from the pandemic economy to the recovery economy. For all three levels, there was an upward shift at the bottom of the range, the top of the range, or both.

Data Science shows similar increases in quartile range to analytics over the job levels that showed significant change in average salary (IC-2, IC-3, and MG-1) from the pandemic economy to the recovery economy.You can read more about some of the demographic and industry trends we observed in this year’s report in this post.

Other Economic Indicators of Data Science & Analytics Salary Growth

In addition to this research, we’re also seeing a resurgence in the economy and very strong optimism that is contributing to substantial increases in hiring. With many professionals still working remotely at least part of the time, this makes interviewing much easier for those looking to make a job change, and with the increasing prevalence of remote roles, there are more options than ever.After many hiring and job search plans were put on hold in 2020, we’re seeing this pent-up hiring demand leading to a challenging and competitive hiring market, as well as more professionals eager to explore their options. Increases in attrition lead to more hiring demand to backfill vacant roles, and some hiring managers have even been giving pre-emptive bonuses or raises in an attempt to retain their staff.With all of these factors indicating compensation growth, we are predicting that salaries will continue to climb in 2021. And as the economy booms, companies will also be more likely to invest in or accelerate digital transformation efforts causing increased competition for talent as compared to the pandemic economy. These factors will push salaries for those with analytical skillsets upward.

More About Burtch Works’ Reports

The Burtch Works Studies are comprehensive industry reports that we’ve been releasing annually since 2013, which has allowed us to identify numerous long-term trends in the data science & analytics market, as well as make predictions about where things are headed. Our market insights have been mentioned in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, CNBC, Forbes, and many others.Our newly-released 2021 report has 50+ pages of research on compensation, WFH/remote work, hiring demand, demographic trends, and other market insights, and can be downloaded for free here.

About Our Data Science & Analytics Sample

This year, our sample included 1,228 Analytics Professionals and 339 Data Scientists. Burtch Works differentiates professionals that work primarily with structured data (Analytics Professionals) from those that work primarily with unstructured (or streaming) data (Data Scientists). Both groups analyze data and create statistical models to glean insights and prescribe action, but Data Scientists use sophisticated computer science and programming skills that are not typically used by Analytics Professionals. This variation in skillset has a marked influence on salaries, and you can learn more about this distinction on pages 43-46 of the full report.To better analyze our sample, we assign each professional to a job category as either an Individual Contributor (abbreviated to IC) or Manager (MG). Then we segment IC’s and MG’s into three levels, that are guided primarily by their years of experience (IC) or management responsibility (MG), as well as the types of functions they’re responsible for. You can view the categorization descriptions below to see what each one typically entails.

Want to learn more? Check out our webinar recording below, where we share more data highlights, market insights, and hiring research that we examined this year.