The ‘New Normal’ Isn’t So New To Data & Analytics

David Farmer our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 8/13/2020 8:12 AM
Across the globe, the impact of COVID-19 has spread like wildfire and our sense of normality has been shaken, most likely for good. We’re seeing huge spikes of flexible working offerings, with many opting to work from home; a virtual world of online meetings; new diagnosable psychological conditions such as ‘Zoom fatigue’; the inability to stand any closer to our friends and colleagues than two metres; and real concerns for our jobs markets and our economy. 

However, elements of our new world aren’t as unique as we probably think. The changes that the pandemic has made to many of our industries, their environments and attitudes especially, were beginning to take shape a few years before COVID-19 in the Data & Analytics space.

Flexibility 


Working remotely or from home is possible in the industry first and foremost because of well-established, high-functioning Cloud-based technologies. In Harnham’s most recent research, our 2020 UK Salary Guide, the top five technologies across the sphere are SQL, Python, SAS, Google Analytics and Excel. 

With these systems already in place, the almost-overnight shift that the world saw from office-based work to a flexible model was already implemented across the Data & Analytics sector. Ahead of the pandemic, over half of Data & Analytics businesses stated that they had some sort of flexible working scheme in place; this year we saw this rocket to 84%. 

While it may seem connected this growth is not a result of lockdown measures. Prior to COVID-19 rapidly changing measures in the UK, 83% of respondents were listed as having some form of flexible working, something which only increased by 2% during our post-COVID analysis.

Job Security


Of course, one big concern across the board was whether any of us would have a desk to go back to once things began to subside, with many holding onto their current roles for dear life. However, for Data & Analytics, changes in attitudes were not as drastic as people may expect. While less respondents felt ‘more secure’ in their role and slightly more felt ‘less secure’ than this time last year, the number who felt ‘about the same’ stayed almost identical. Even post-COVID, 77% felt ‘more’ or ‘as secure’ in the role, the same percentage as in our 2019 guide.

Interlinked with this surprisingly good attitude towards job security is the atypical finding that, despite our economy and the jobs market as a whole, the Data & Analytics market will be more active than ever this year. Post-COVID less respondents felt happy in their current position and almost a third were actively seeking a new role. Confident in the industry as it still efficiently grinds it gears, employees are searching for more competitive salaries (17%) or a role with more career progression prospects (18%); 74% would happily leave their roles if something better came about within the industry, only 3 percentage points down from last year.

The pandemic has undoubtedly changed our world for good, and for many the next year, two years and so on will be a period of having to adapt and flex to the employee, economic and industry changes to come. What is sure however, is that Data & Analytics is two steps ahead, and will look to continue to trail blaze over this turbulent time as an industry that has been adapting to the ‘New Normal’ long before any of us could have predicted we would need it. 

If you're looking for more insights on the Data & Analytics, you can download our 2020 UK, EU, and US guides here

If you're looking to take the next step in your career you can find all of our latest roles here or, if you're looking to hire in these uncertain times, get in touch with one of our expert consultants who will be happy to help. 

Related blog & news

With over 10 years experience working solely in the Data & Analytics sector our consultants are able to offer detailed insights into the industry.

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Weekly News Digest: 10th - 14th May 2021

This is Harnham’s weekly news digest, the place to come for a quick breakdown of the week’s top news stories from the world of Data & Analytics.       Personnel Today: Mental Health Awareness Week: Concerns up 24% from last year It was Mental Health Awareness week this week, and this year, the focus was on the theme of nature. Personnel Today revealed some worrying statistics on the back of research from Close Brothers into the state of the population’s wellbeing in 2021.  Reports of mental ill-health has increased by nearly a quarter since this time last year as a direct consequence of the stresses and strains of COVID-19. From yo-yoing in and out of lockdowns to extended periods of isolation, job uncertainty and illness, this year has been like no other and it’s most certainly taken its toll.  63 per cent of 16–34-year-olds report mental health worries, up a seventh from last year.For those who are 55+, this worry has risen by a third. In this piece, it is made clear that the underlying issue lies not only with COVID-19, but the lack of support given by employers. The research revealed that 70 per cent of employers don’t have a wellbeing budget in place, and only 8 per cent of firms invest more than £126 per employee each year in health and wellbeing.  To read the full research, visit Personnel Today here.  Towards Data Science: 5 unique skills every Data Scientist should know We know that career tip articles for Data Scientists can all feel pretty ‘samey’. But this article in Towards Data Science mixes up the usual advice, looking at how those in, or aiming to be in, the industry need to brush-up on their softer skills if they are to be successful.  Tips include: Cutting down the jargon in order to communicate effectively with stakeholders. Don’t be hasty to overpromise, or you’re at risk of seriously under-delivering. Become friendly with your team’s software engineer, they’ll only be able to help you be more efficient and effective in your role.  Of course, there has to be some mention of coding in there – it wouldn’t be a data-based article without it. Make sure you’re mastering your SQL Optimisation. Don’t leave your Git out in the cold, become familiar with the practice to ensure you can update your model code quickly.  To read the full article, click here.  Analytics India Mag: What SMBs can learn from Big Tech’s AI playbook? AI has come on leaps and bounds in a short space of time, and its popularity has boomed. For the monster-sized companies, where budget is of no question and innovation can happen overnight if need be - embracing AI has been a total no-brainer. Workflows become more efficient, technology becomes smarter, and the scope of growth seems infinite.  However, despite all the benefits of AI that are so regularly shouted about, it’s been clear since the birth of the technology that there’s a huge divide in those who can and those who cannot afford to implement this innovation.  Up until now.  In this piece from Analytics India Mag, author Ritka Sagar, highlights how SMEs are finally finding ways to become ‘inventive’ with how they implement and use AI systems without breaking the bank.  To read how SMEs are managing this, click here. Silicon Republic: For smart cities to work, they need to be neutral and objective The concept of a smart city seems like something out of a futuristic, sci-fi film but, in fact, they are closer to becoming a reality than we may think.  The idea being that urban areas use sensors and other electronic methods to collect data. From citizens to traffic, water supply networks to crime detection, all of these assets of life, and more, are monitored, data collected, and insights given to make ‘life’ more efficient.  On the surface, it’s all very cool, but there are, of course, worries that come with it. In this Silicon Republic article, Computer Scientist, Larissa Suzuki, discusses the importance of ‘neutral and objective’ smart cities if they are to work.  She says; “Data and services in smart cities must be neutral and objective when reporting information about the city environment. They should encompass the entire population and respect data licences, regulation and privacy laws,” she said. “In a similar fashion, the digital services and the backbone technology – including algorithms – should be free from any ideology or influence in their conception, operation, integration and dissemination.” To read more on the future of smart cities, visit Silicon Republic here. We've loved seeing all the news from Data & Analytics in the past week, it’s a market full of exciting and dynamic opportunities. To learn more about our work in this space, get in touch with us at info@harnham.com.     

Using Data Visualisation To Bring Data & Analytics To Life

The majority of the human population are visual learners. Our brains are wired in such a way where we can register 36,000 visual messages per hour, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text. In short, one of the best ways to truly assimilate and understand new-found knowledge is through clear and digestible imagery.  Because of this valuable insight, we are now witnessing the fast-growing trend of Data Visualisation. Over the next six years, the value of Data Visualisation tools is expected to reach $19.2 billion, over double what it was in 2019.  Data & Analytics is one key area where data visualisation is used continuously. The raw data collected on a daily basis by Data Analysts can be incredibly time-consuming to sift through, not forgetting near-impossible to form palatable findings from. However, through the use of data visualisation tools such as graphs, heat maps, charts and infographics, confusing, text-based data can be transformed and brought to life. So, how can Data Visualisation help your business? Greater understanding of your data As Lydia, our Senior Recruitment Consultant, stated in her most recent article – data insights have the capability of not only improving decision-making, but also allow you to spot key trends, errors and predict future challenges. Nevertheless, all of these brilliant capabilities of data insights can only occur when teams can garner an in-depth understanding of the data being presented to them.  Without a background in statistics, which very few members of any team would possess, the raw data simply wouldn’t mean anything, and key insights could be missed. Utilising data visualisations not only makes data more tangible, but it also allows every team member to understand the data, make decisions and implement changes more efficiently. Standing out from the competition The effectiveness of Data Visualisation is no secret, and time and time again it’s been proved that this way of presenting data is far more likely to produce results than simply reviewing text.  Research within Analytics Insight reported that businesses using data discovery tools are 28 per cent more likely to find timely information compared to their dashboard-using counterparts, and 48 per cent of business intelligence users at companies with visualisation tools are able to find the information they need without the help of a specialist team.  Nevertheless, despite the incredible benefits, only 26 per cent of businesses globally are using data visualisation tools.  While the reasons for this slow uptake are varied, it’s clear that those companies who are willing to invest in Data Visualisation are far more likely to stand a head above their competitors. It can improve customer experience 98 per cent of companies will use data to help drive a better customer experience, but it doesn’t always mean that this data is collected, managed or presented well.  Data is, and should be, used as a way to back up what brands are saying, especially if they’re shouting from the rooftops about how fantastic they are.  When a business or brand uses accurate Data Visualisation to tell this story – for example, the percentage of consumers who report high levels of customer satisfaction, or the amount of money donated to CSR projects – audiences will respond much better than if the claim appears to be empty words without any evidence.  Data Visualisation is undoubtedly one of the most effective ways to communicate data, both internally and externally. The comprehensible formats available enables information to be processed with ease, and for learnings and understandings to be absorbed and implemented with much more efficiency than text-based raw data. It’s clear that this trend is only going to grow in popularity as businesses begin to put more investment behind it in order to reap the benefits and watch the positive impact on their bottom lines prosper.  For examples of how Harnham uses Data Visualisation, head over to our recent research reports.  If you're looking to take the next step in your career or build out your Data & Analytics team, we can help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

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