Why is it always difficult to find business-oriented data profiles?

Data scientists, data engineers, data protection officers … all these data professions are increasingly part of the workforce of large groups, because data occupies a strategic place in organizations. However, the data professions would benefit from being more “readable” in companies, which do not always value them enough.

This is what reveals the new survey on the future of the data professions, carried out by Kantar and the Essec Business School for the governmental digital mission of the large groups. It was carried out with 104 heads of digital activities and HR managers from 81 large French groups, mostly from the CAC40. It is, according to the authors, “the first study of this kind which aims to provide a prospective vision of the sector”, and probes the intentions of large companies over the next two years.

“Whether you are a start-up or a large company, mastery of data and access to the best talents is a guarantee of competitiveness”, declared Cédric O, Secretary of State for Digital, spokesperson for the government mission .

Data strategy and recruitment

Data occupies a central place in the digital transformation of many companies. Almost all (91%) of those polled say they have recruited in this area over the past three years. A similar proportion say they have developed internal employees in the data professions to meet needs. If it has not already been done, 70% of those interviewed affirm that their company “will hire data scientists in the coming months”.

Although the recruitment of data profiles is meeting a real craze, it is not always easy to do, taking into account the fierce competition in this market and a lack of hybrid profiles. The majority of senior executives (74%) say they have difficulty assessing data needs, where skills change very quickly.

Companies expect future recruits to be able to “solve concrete problems”, but also “to provide solutions and added value to issues related to their core business”, explains the report. However, respondents note that they often meet profiles who are very expert in their field, but without soft skills and not business-oriented, or vice versa. As the right balance seems difficult to find, recruiters prefer experienced profiles, especially for data architects, underlines the survey.

Gaps in training

Training is also a weak link targeted by the report. Almost 43% of respondents consider that the training courses offered by higher education in France for data professions are “sufficiently linked to the business world” and half (51%) believe that they do not “ are not sufficient ”.

Guillaume Chevillon, professor of econometrics and statistics at Essec, observes that “the large French groups deplore the lack of hybrid skills in France, between data and professions, between hard and soft skills”. According to him, it would be necessary to “strengthen the training courses combining data science, human, social and management sciences which have developed in recent years via alliances between universities, engineering schools and business schools”. He considers that “the biggest obstacle to growth does not seem to be the shortage of data scientists but the lack of leaders trained in data science and artificial intelligence”.

To improve training, the people questioned advise schools to strengthen the links between data and professions and to better train students in practical cases.

Since 2017, Cédric O recalls that the government has put “a boost to training for jobs in the digital sector”. France plans to offer “10,000 new entries into training in digital professions by 2022”, he announced.

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