The Future of Data Teams and Skills

New Research from Lightcast and BPP on the Data Teams in the UK and the skills-focus those teams are enacting

computer BPP report

As Data Evolves, So Too Must the Approach to Data Jobs

Data jobs are high in demand: the number of job postings requiring data skills has increased by 158% in the UK since 2013. And the world of data is rapidly evolving.

But businesses have been building their data teams backwards. Organisations and individuals need to think about job roles in terms of skills, rather than job titles.

The importance of data can be seen not only in the huge increase in recruitment of traditional roles, like data engineers and analysts, but also in the fact that data skills are being requested in many non-data roles.

With new technology constantly changing roles and the nature of the work being done, it is imperative that employers, educators and individuals all understand the changing nature of data roles through the lens of skills. This report should prove to be a timely contribution to understanding both the challenge and the solution.

Data Professionals can be classified into five groups.

With unprecedented demand for data engineering roles, new AI technologies to grapple with, and a talent shortage gripping the UK labour market, hiring people with the right skills is harder than ever before.

Demand for Data Engineers, Analysts and Scientists have increased at a high rate recently.

Companies are putting greater emphasis on structuring their data teams so that there are specific roles for each stage of the data process: engineers to do the engineering, analysts to do the analysis, and data scientists to do the advanced analytics.

Demand for data engineers is only going to increase: businesses now manage a significantly larger volume and a more diverse array of data than they did a decade ago, which contributes to this accelerated increase in data engineer hiring activity.

There are now more postings for data engineers than for data scientists, and demand for both engineers and scientists is catching up with demand for data analysts.

Read "The Future of Data Teams and Skills in the UK"

Explore the Report

Data Skills for Data Users and Business Leaders

Data professionals are far from the only people who need data skills: we are increasingly seeing other professionals who need to understand data governance, obtaining and cleaning data, descriptive analysis, and presentation.

And demand for data directors – leaders who specifically manage data teams and business-wide data strategy – has increased by 171% in the last two years. Businesses are increasingly looking for leaders, with the necessary skills, who can direct and develop their data strategy.

The Future and What It Means For Your Business

The composition of data jobs is changing rapidly. Demand for data directors has increased markedly over the last two years, and, as bigger and more complex datasets are becoming available, we are now seeing data engineers roles surpassing data scientists in terms of recruitment activity. Machine learning engineers, AI engineers, and analytics engineers are all roles to keep an eye on in 2024.

With rapid advancements in AI, it's likely data jobs will continue to undergo changes in coming years, meaning agility and flexibility will be as essential as data skills for data professionals.

Read about the evolution of data teams and skills, and get a glimpse into the future of these professions in the full report.