Winning the Big Data Talent War With Social Recruitment

By Cheryl Morgan

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Advanced analytics talent is driving success for many UK businesses.


Businesses in every industry are investing in powerful analytical software, and they require people who can use it to find the buried insights in their data and maximise return on investment. Data scientists not only need to understand data, but to imagine innovative ways of analysing it and bringing together software and hardware necessary to carry out this work.

Finding people with advanced analytics skills isn't easy. An estimated 58,000 such professionals are expected to be needed in the UK alone by the year 2017. Fewer UK students are pursuing Master's level education due to higher undergraduate fees, and flourishing advanced analytics courses in the UK are often populated by students from outside the EU. Social recruitment is becoming an increasingly important component in successfully hiring for advanced analytics posts.

Approaches to Filling the Analytical Talent Gap

While social recruitment definitely has a big role in filling analytics talent needs, it can't do all the heavy lifting, so companies are turning to a number of strategies. Around one-third of respondents to a 2012 business and technology staffing survey said they would use a mix of retraining and hiring (or contracting) to meet needs. More than one-quarter will mostly retrain, but hire a few select people. Sixteen percent said they would hire or contract to fill analytics talent gaps, whilst only 11% said they would rely on retraining existing staff to fulfill these requirements.

Define Roles Clearly and Explicitly

Successful social recruitment in advanced analytics requires that employers offer as much clarity as possible about what will be expected from job candidates. Many terms used in defining these roles ("analysis," "insight," and "modelling," for example) are widely open to interpretation, so you risk a deluge of applications from unqualified people. If there is specific software in which you require experience, name it in recruitment ads. Define the role you want to fill in terms of what you expect that person to deliver, be it analytical reports or guidance for design of new products.

Social Networking and "Always On" Recruiting


Your existing top talent may be able to help you expand your team through their contacts.

Social recruitment is perhaps the best way to find those advanced analytics "unicorns", particularly if you already have one or two of them working for you. Your existing analytics star can be a great spotter for new talent, since he or she is more likely to know others with relevant skills and experience from their educational programmes and previous work experience. Your top analytics talent generally wants to work with other smart people, and it's likely they know who some of these people are.

Additionally, as long as there's a relative scarcity of advanced analytics talent, an "always on" approach to social recruitment is beneficial. Many companies know that demand will continue for such positions and may not want to wait for a specific position to arise. Rather they constantly keep an ear to the ground on social media in case top talent becomes available.


Laying Out a Clear Career Path is Helpful

Because of the high demand for advanced analytics professionals, your social recruitment strategy should lay out the career path you envision for the position you want to fill. These job candidates not only want to know how their skills match those required for the role, they also want to understand possible career development, and the opportunities it provides for improvement and addition of new skills. When you hire a star analyst and are able to define potential career paths for them, you're more likely to retain them longer.



It's no mystery why companies seek out advanced analytics professionals. Companies that have above average marketing analytics talent, for instance, have better marketing ROI and increased profits over companies that lack advanced analytics talent. But finding these advanced analysts isn't easy. Social recruitment is an essential component of any smart hiring push for analytics talent.

Social-Hire is an industry leader in social media marketing for recuitment companies. That means we are ready to help companies like yours develop the most effective social recruitment strategies. With a robust social recruitment plan, you can build the talent pool you need to serve your long term goals. We encourage you to contact us to set up an expert consultation about your social media strategy. We look forward to hearing from you and answering all your social recruitment questions.




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