Is the data skills gap still on the rise?

The skills gap in the UK is something that is often discussed, particularly surrounding data-literate workers. Core data skills are continuously important for businesses, and the need for highly skilled workers is on the rise.

When we conduced our 2020 State of Data survey we wanted to know if there was a specific skill that was in demand, and if this has shifted since our last survey in 2016.


The results clearly show that in a 4-year period data governance is still the most needed skill in a business and where knowledge is lacking.

Why data governance?

Good data governance and quality will always be needed in business, the need for good, secure and accurate data is not only essential for legal compliance (GDPR) but also for other teams to successfully use and interpret the data.

As Nicola Askham, the Data Governance coach, points out:

“Organisations need Data Governance and good quality data, now more than ever before, as they make decisions based on data to help them survive these challenging times.  However, so many fail because they either ignore the fact that they don’t truly understand their data and the quality of it, or they think it is something that can quickly be fixed and underestimate the amount of effort and time involved.”

How do you hire for these skills?

The most important thing to close any knowledge gap within a business is to hire the right person. Before any datasets can be worked on a data governance plan needs to be set and in place.

Training existing employees who have an interest and slight knowledge of data governance and data quality practises can be one way to shrink the skills gap and can help create new skills within the business. Alternatively, hiring the right person who specialises in data governance can be the quickest way to bring the knowledge in-house.

The skills gap is something that must be tackled with the data industry, whether through hiring new skills within the business or training up existing employees. The themes that have occurred in our 2020 and 2016 whitepapers show that there is still a long way to go in closing the data governance and data quality skills gap in particular. The need for clean, reliable and useful data is a must for any data driven business.

“It’s good to see that organisations are getting better at using the data that is available to them and that they are using it to make better decisions. There is clear evidence in this year’s State of Data report from KDR that data literacy is on the rise. There is still room for improvement, though, and Data Governance and Data Quality that top the list for many respondents as the key areas for improvement. This recognition is a welcome endorsement for the principle that data really is an asset, and that managing it well is good for business.” – Mark Humphries – DAMA UK Chairman


For the full results and your free copy of ‘Change is on the horizon: The State of Data 2020’ click here.

KDR Recruitment is the original data recruiter. View our latest data, technology and analytics jobs or follow us on LinkedIn for the latest news.

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