By Gemma Morris
13th September 2016

Plenty has been written this year about a skills gap across the UK workforce, with a particular focus on a shortage of data-literate workers. As more data is being created and businesses are realising the impact good quality data can have, the need for skilled workers is on the rise.

When we conducted our annual survey ‘The State of Data 2016’ we wanted to see if there was a specific skill that was in demand, interestingly when asked ‘Where does your organisation have the biggest Information Management skills or knowledge gap?’ almost 50% of respondents answered data governance, while almost 45% answered data quality.

Where does your organisation face the biggest skills gap?

Results from the ‘State of Data 2016’ survey

Why data governance?

The need for data governance skills is on the rise as more organisations are seeing the importance of data security and quality. With the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018 the need for good, secure and accurate data is essential.

Although the need for data governance is on the rise one of the reasons we could see a skills gap in this area is that businesses are not investing in the right talent. Nicola Askham is a Data Governance Coach who is currently running an online course in training and implementing data governance frameworks in organisations said that: 

“Awareness of Data Governance and the importance of building Data Governance capability is increasing across all industries, but it continues to be an area which suffers from under investment compared to the more ‘sexy’ data topics like Big Data”

The idea of lack of investment can also be seen in the survey results, when respondents were asked “what do you believe is the most effective way to improve data quality” only 13% answered investment.

How do you recruit for these skills?

As more investment is needed in these areas, the right people with the right skills are also needed. Before any datasets can be worked on a data governance plan needs to be put in place. As MD of KDR Recruitment, Mark Dexter said:

“The last thing any data scientist should be doing, or wants to be doing for that matter, is to sift through mountains of data trying to find a relevant dataset to work on. When they’ve found it they also want to be able to trust the quality of that data. Therefore, a solid data governance and quality programme needs to be established before any meaningful data science work can be carried out”

Training existing employees that have expressed interest in data governance or hiring a new person into the business can be the way to get these programmes in place in order to improve the data quality and improve on the other areas.

While the skills gap doesn’t seem to be slowing down, especially in the information management and analytics industry our survey results can identify the areas that are struggling. The themes that have occurred were present in our 2015 and 2016 whitepapers and can help to underline the overall volume of data that organisations are dealing with and the need of making it clean, reliable and useful.

Have you noticed a skills gap within your organisation? Why do you think we are facing a skills gap in this area?

[NEW WHITEPAPER] Adrift on a sea of data: The state of data 2016. Download the full results and whitepaper for FREE.

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