Survey Results: 2023 Data Science & AI Professionals Hiring in Q3/Q4
To measure the hiring demand for data scientists and AI professionals, we’ve been surveying the data science and AI community twice a year to gauge their hiring plans for Q1/2 and then again for Q3/4. Our survey for the first half of 2023 showed that 25% of data teams were looking to hire data scientists and AI professionals. However, as we shift our focus towards the second half of the year, it becomes crucial to analyze the potential impact of looming economic uncertainty, as well as recent tech layoffs and hiring freezes, on future hiring decisions within the industry. By examining these factors, we can gain a deeper understanding of how they may shape the hiring landscape for the remainder of 2023.
Hiring on Data Science & AI Teams: Q3 and Q4 2023 Expectations
Figure 1 for the second half of 2023 reveals that 31% of data science and AI teams are planning to hire, with 40% of teams maintaining their current staffing levels and 29% planning to reduce their hiring in Q3 and Q4 of this year. Our survey sample included over 150 companies across the U.S., and it is notable that despite the potential economic uncertainty, almost a third of all teams are still planning to grow and increase their data professional headcount.
Responses to our second question in Figure 2, regarding the focus of the hiring, revealed that adding to headcount (24%), backfilling due to attrition (51%), and temporary/project-based hiring (25%) each represent a significant factor in the hiring plans of data teams in Q3/Q4. It is important to consider the long-term implications of the 'Great Resignation' and the significant job changes that occurred in the market last year. Many organizations are still grappling with the consequences, navigating their recovery from hiring freezes or strategically hiring primarily for backfilling purposes.
There has also been a slight decrease in permanent hiring since our last survey, as seen in Figure 3. 54% of teams responded that they are only looking for permanent hires in Q3/Q4 of 2023, compared to 63% in Q1/Q2. This shift indicates a growing trend of companies exploring contract staffing solutions as a means to enhance flexibility and navigate economic uncertainty.
The decrease in permanent hiring aligns with the evolving mindset of organizations seeking adaptable workforce solutions. Contract staffing offers distinct advantages, such as the ability to scale up or down quickly based on project demands and financial considerations. This approach allows companies to mitigate risks associated with economic fluctuations while maintaining operational efficiency.
For our fourth question, we asked data science and AI teams about their future hiring plans if they are not actively hiring at the moment. The results in Figure 4 indicate that 26% of teams intend to resume their hiring plans in Q3 2023, while 33% anticipate initiating hiring in Q4 2023. A smaller proportion, 22% and 19% of the sample respectively, expressed their intention to postpone hiring until Q1 or Q2 of 2024. These findings are promising as they reveal that 60% of the surveyed teams have plans to resume their hiring by the end of this calendar year. This may suggest a gradual recovery from any hiring slowdown experienced in recent times, we will continue to monitor the evolving hiring trends and report back as they emerge.
It is important to note that current and upcoming shifts in the market will affect some organizations and industries more than others. Although it is too soon to say what the future holds with rumors of looming recession and economic uncertainty, there are still opportunities open to job seekers that may have been laid off or are looking to make a change.
This post was developed with input from Bill Franks, internationally recognized thought leader, speaker, and author focused on data science & analytics.