Skills gap in Big Data starting to bite

A looming skills gap in one of the UK’s most promising corporate disciplines is a very real possibility, according to IBM.

Almost every company now uses some form of Big Data-led analytics tools. And that is filtering down to the mid market, with a growing number of businesses seeking to harness the insights from Big Data to better understand customer behavior and adapt accordingly.

Even basic tools such as Google Analytics has transformed the way many SMEs go about tracking customer habits, assess the effectiveness of their investment and target new markets. Some observers have even dubbed the developments the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

But, despite nascent efforts to address the growing demand,  that growth is being jeopardized by the sluggish rate of newly qualified people coming into business with the right skills to analyse and use data.


Mind the gap

Addressing the World Manufacturing Forum, Sanjay Brahmawar, global head and managing partner, strategic business development at IBM’s Watson Internet of Things business, said: “One of the biggest issues is going to be the gap in skills.”

“Getting the skills required to analyse and manage all of this data is going to be difficult.”

“By 2020 we will have one million unfilled jobs in the IT sector. Primarily because the skills we have today aren’t the right skills for the future. The future is more about the business understanding and the data understanding,” Brahmawar added.

IBM has made some progress itself in this area, offering a range of school leaver apprenticeships leading to roles including Technical Solution Specialist and Business Specialist, but clearly more needs to be done.