Data workers needed in Europe

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It is no surprise that countries and companies, such as Microsoft with its Online Data Science Degree Program, are starting to invest in Data Science education. Last year, according to the results of the European Data Market study, there was a gap of 396,000 unfilled data worker (1) positions in the EU, corresponding to 6% of the total demand. It is more than in 2014, which counted a 248,000 workers’ gap.

The study forecasts that the structural imbalance between demand and supply will result in a data skills gap in 2020. Different growth scenarios are imagined. The Baseline scenario foresees 485,000 unfilled positions by 2020 while the Challenge scenario forecasts it to 550,000.

It varies a lot from a country to another. In both scenarios the gap is concentrated in the large European countries (UK, Germany and France) while Italy and Spain show a slight over-supply. This reflects the different conditions of the national labour markets with higher unemployment and a less dynamic growth of the data market in Southern Europe. In Eastern Europe, Poland shows a smaller data skills gap than Germany or the UK in all scenarios, given to lower supply trends than the other countries.

Solving the gap

Organisations have trouble sourcing highly specialized, people with data skills. Data workers show a wide portfolio of skills, but are usually not specialized. They may come from a wide range of disciplines: from Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to social science, business and law. Enterprises will then try to solve the data skills gap by training on the job and creating multidisciplinary teams.

Nevertheless, if the data career grows in attractiveness because of strong demand, a high number of graduates with the right skills might step in. The European user industries should then not be faced with a supply problem of data skills.

For more information about the study, please follow this link:

The European Data Market Monitoring Tool is available at the following link:

(1) Data workers are defined as workers who collect, store, manage and analyze data as their primary, or as a relevant part of their activity. Data workers must be proficient with the use of structured and unstructured data, should be able to work with a huge amount of data and familiar with emerging database technologies. They elaborate and visualize structured and unstructured data to support analysis and decision-making processes.