We have compiled and published the sixth edition of our Diversity in Data Report, which once again reveals a varied picture across the data industry but with some fascinating developments over the past 12 months. In this article we provide a summary of the headline findings across the data industry.
The report is compiled based on a survey of more than 6,500 professionals in the US, UK, France and the Netherlands. It looks up and down the sector through a diversity lens to provide meaningful insights and comparisons on how fairly pay is distributed, the state of diversity within leadership levels, the distribution of ages across specialisms and which professional benefits are preferred by different demographics.
A sector rejuvenated
Over the last three years, our data has tracked a trend in which the proportion of data professionals under the age of 35 has been gradually shrinking across UK, US and EU markets. In 2023 this trend has stopped abruptly, and, in the case of the US and EU, it has reversed. This U-turn could be seen as a positive sign of a market that has now fully stabilised post COVID-19, during which time higher job losses were experienced among younger workers.
That said, the proportion of under 35s is still lower than it was. For example, in the UK in 2020, 63 per cent of data professionals fell into this category, whereas this year they account for 53 per cent. In the US and EU, under 35s make up 46 per cent and 57 per cent of the data workforce, respectively, in 2023. This is also lower than in 2020 but represents an increase on last year for both markets.
Now that the downward trend has stopped, we would expect to see this age group swell again over time in an industry that has traditionally been dominated by younger professionals.
How about gender diversity?
The overall picture for female representation is not overly positive in 2023. This year’s report revealed a concerning drop in female representation in entry-level positions across the UK, US and EU, a group which is historically the most gender diverse. The drop was particularly severe in the UK and US where the proportion of female professionals in entry-level positions more than halved to 11 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively.
A key concern is the impact this may have on the talent pipeline. Without strong representation of females at entry-level, gender parity in leadership roles in years to come will be challenging to achieve.
Nonetheless, the picture is more positive in mid-level roles, where the UK and US are nudging towards greater gender parity, with women making up 37 per cent and 39 per cent of professionals, respectively.
In terms of salaries, the gender pay gap persists and has, in fact, widened further in the UK and US in 2023. This is most notably the case in the UK, where it has increased to 16 per cent in favour of men, up from 6 per cent last year. In stark contrast, the Netherlands has narrowed its gender pay gap from 23 per cent to 10 per cent this year.
For a more detailed deep dive into gender diversity trends, read our article here.
A snapshot of ethnicity in data
An overview of the ethnic makeup of the UK’s data industry appears to reflect a relatively diverse workforce, particularly when set against wider population statistics. However, zooming into individual specialisms throws up some greater extremes.
In the past 12 months the proportion of White/Caucasian data professionals in the UK has decreased by almost a fifth, from 75 per cent in 2022 to 61 per cent in this year’s report. Given that the UK population is made up of 82 per cent White/Caucasians, according to the 2021 Census data, the sector appears favourably diverse.
However, a microscope on Data Science, for example, reveals a different picture. Just 1 per cent of candidates in this specialism are Black/African/Caribbean/Black British professionals in the UK, and 11 per cent are Asian/Asian British, which is 2 per cent below the industry average for this group of professionals.
In contrast to the UK, the US data industry appears less ethnically diverse at the outset but reveals some encouraging diversity trends on closer inspection.
The proportion of White/Caucasian data professionals in the US increased from 53 per cent last year to 58 per cent, in 2023, which is only just below the 59 per cent of US residents who belong to this ethnic group.
However, when honing in on specialisms, 79 per cent of Computer Vision professionals are Black, Indigenous or people of colour, and this ethnic group make up 66 per cent of Risk Analysts in the US.
Who is leading?
In terms of leadership roles, white male professionals continue to dominate the top data positions. Overall, the least represented groups in senior data roles are female Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic professionals in the UK, and Black, Indigenous and people of colour employees in the US.
Similar to the gender picture, the industry’s ethnic makeup does improve in mid-level positions. For example, in the US, Black and African American data professionals now account for 60per cent of these positions.
In terms of pay, the industry has witnessed moves in the right direction, but a gap still persists in the UK and US. In the former, this year’s ethnicity pay gap sits at 6 per cent, with White/Caucasian employees earning an average annual salary of £75,100, compared with £70,925 for Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority professionals. Asian/Asian British data professionals are the highest paid ethnic group in the industry this year, receiving an average salary of £79,900.
This pay gap figure, of course, varies across the specialisms and is disappointingly stark in Data Technology, where it sits at 13 per cent, rising to 21 per cent for Black/African/Caribbean/Black British data professionals. Despite the proportion of Black/African/Caribbean/Black British data professionals rising by 42 per cent this year, these professionals represent the lowest paid group in the industry.
In the US, the landscape is also varied. The overall ethnicity pay gap across the US sits at 2 per cent, with average salaries for White/Caucasian professionals sitting at $165,000 and at $161,810 for Black, Indigenous, and people of colour. Specialisms tell different stories however, with Life Sciences, Data Technology, Risk Analytics and Advanced Analytics each flipping the pay gap round, with White/Caucasian professionals not sitting as the highest paid group by some margin.
This year’s report also analysed which benefits packages were most valued by different demographics. Female data professionals consistently ranked benefits that granted them greater flexibility, such as hybrid working patterns or holiday allowance, above financial incentives such as bonuses and shares, which were valued more highly by male professionals.
Download the full 2023 Diversity in Data report here, or to find out more about what Harnham Group are doing to support organisations in improving the diversity of their workforces, visit our website.