Guest Blog: Big Data, Young Talent and the Future of Work

By Erin Lambertz posted 07-15-2021 07:38 AM

Tammy Kim-Newman contributes another great piece for this month's guest blog series, with insight on big data and young talent, and what that could mean for your business.

Big data means big business. As technology continues to advance, the need for data will only increase and impact the future of work.

Between 2019 and 2025, as organizations conduct more business online and increasingly use social networks and mobile devices, the amount of data collected will triple. This will result in the need to invest in talent with the skills to handle data. Talent with mathematical skills like machine learning, data mining, natural language processing and statistics is more important than ever.

Top Data Skills
According to a 2020 Deloitte report, tech jobs looking for analytical skills such as machine learning, data science, data engineering and visualization have increased. The need for these skills has surpassed more traditional skill categories like engineering, customer support, marketing, public relations and administration.

Research from the University of Waterloo’s Work-Learn Institute (WxL) found similar results. Researchers found that more organizations are listing data analysis skills as a top tech requirement. Related skills include Excel, Visual Basic for Application (VBA) and Structured Query Language (SQL). A 2018 study notes that entry-level positions need at least three years of experience in technical skills and data fluency. Co-op students graduate with up to two years of full-time work experience and can easily start filling your full-time talent pipeline.

Young Data Talent is the Future of Work
Home to North America’s largest co-operative and experiential learning program, Waterloo analyzed more than 48,000 jobs filled by Math and Engineering students. Some of the top data roles that employers are looking for include:

  1. Data Scientist
  2. Machine Learning Developer
  3. Data Analyst
  4. AI Engineer
  5. Machine Learning Researcher
  6. Business Analyst
  7. Data Entry Associate

By 2028 there will be an expected 18,000 new jobs for data analysts and administrators. Only 16,700 new job seekers (arising from recent graduates, new immigrants and workers who relocate) are available to fill these positions. These jobs will be on the rise in both tech and non-traditional tech industries as everyone needs data.

The competition for data talent will only continue to rise and young talent can fill the gap. Waterloo’s research shows that Gen Z students are motivated by opportunities to problem solve making them a good fit for data-related positions.

Attracting Young Talent
Today’s workforce spans five generations, each with unique characteristics and expectations. The global pandemic has accelerated the focus on young talent. WxL identifies the following key strategies when it comes to recruiting and engaging this talent:

  • Recruit a diverse workforce: Assess barriers and consider the long-term benefits of equity and diversity. A diverse workforce results in the ability to change, be innovative and meet or exceed financial targets.
  • Improve job postings: Increase your applicant pool by including these key themes: 1) company culture, 2) programming languages, 3) food and games, 4) company values, 5) compensation, and 6) opportunities for career development. For more tips, check out our latest article on writing the perfect job description.
  • Strengthen remote recruitment strategies: A study from ADP Canada shows that young tech talent wants remote work - 61 per cent of workers aged 18 to 34 want to work remotely at least three days a week.
  • Be open: Describe your culture, values and work during recruitment and reimagine your ideal candidate as the world continues to change.
Get ahead of these hiring trends to ensure your organization is on the road to success.

About the Author:
Tammy Kim-Newman is a business developer and tech talent specialist at the University of Waterloo, Canada’s #1 university for Computer Science, Mathematics and Engineering (Maclean’s 2021 University Rankings). She has 10+ years supporting industry partners with their early talent strategies and is an advocate for work-integrated learning. If you have questions about early tech talent recruitment strategies, please reach out to Tammy Kim-Newman.


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