Data centric recruitment set to thrive post Covid

In the absence of recruitment assignments to get my teeth stuck into I’ve been listening to various speakers, data professionals looking for roles and vendors/clients this week to get their take on what’s going on at the moment in NZ. This is a brief summary of those conversations.

Activity hasn’t slowed down for data teams. Of course there is the BAU work to be done and vendors had an existing pipeline. Some organisations did make redundancies, but the experienced and talented people on the market were quickly recommended by previous colleagues and found positions within new teams. A natural balance was restored.

However, the continued uncertainty is delaying future pipeline. Whilst interest in data driven projects is high, decision making has slowed. At the same time, the realisation that a digital driven business is paramount has never been more evident. Over the last few years digital transformation has been the key industry buzzword but when a crisis hit, our largest bricks and mortar retail companies, for example, were unprepared. Supermarkets, our multinational hardware stores, our largest homegrown stores and our post and courier services struggled to cope.

Organisations that are least impacted or even thriving are those that have either moved to or been born into real time data. These organisations have high quality data, usable immediately, to produce the desired business outcomes. Finance companies and online retail spring to mind here.

Compliance is also a business driver that cannot be delayed. The change to the Privacy Act is expected in November of this year. For most businesses, the most notable change in the new Act will be the introduction of a requirement to report serious privacy breaches. This brings in the need for data governance. Vendors are experiencing high interest in systems that provide complete solutions for data quality and management.

So, the industry is well set to thrive post Covid. Recruitment is currently slow as teams are resourced and matching workload. There is much less opportunity for natural churn to open up new permanent opportunities and anyway these can be filled through internal networks rather than an externally driven recruitment drive. New projects are slow to get sign off but when they do contract resources will be the first requirement. I’ll be looking keenly for these green shoots signalling a return to my search and selection activities.

If you are looking for opportunities at the moment, I can only repeat the advice I read from Raoul Verhaegen earlier this week. If you have down time, upskill in a technology, get certified if possible, make sure your CV and LinkedIn profile is polished and network as much as possible. I would add that most data roles are as much about your communication skills as they are about your mathematical, statistical or technical knowledge. Your one shot to demonstrate this is during the interview process. Ask me if you’d like specific advice on this.

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