Data Market Observations July 2023: The Evolving Landscape of Data Talent in the UK

The data sector in the UK is an awesome and rapidly evolving field with many new developments, trends and policies emerging on a regular basis – well you would expect us to say that wouldn’t you?  But this is a truism… this month has been particularly eventful, with several key events and trends significantly shaping the data talent landscape.

Government Restructuring and the Implications for Data Talent

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has been replaced by two new entities: the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. This restructuring could be a genuine signpost of a commitment to fostering a more robust digital and technological environment in the UK. The new departments are expected to streamline the implementation of data policies and regulations and this should help the UK remain at the forefront of the global data and digital landscape.

This could have implications for data professionals. With a significantly higher emphasis on science, innovation and technology, there will almost certainly be an increased demand for data professionals within the public sector and of course, this is a sector currently seeing an interesting movement in pay! 

Emerging Trends in Data Science Talent

On the data science front, there have been several interesting developments. A recent article on Data Science Central titled "Innovations in predictive analytics: ML and generative AI" explores the growing fascination of machine learning models like ChatGPT-3 and DALL-E2.

This trend is likely to significantly impact the data science opportunities as businesses increasingly adopt and circle these advanced AI models.  This may mean that we experience a surge in demand for data scientists and machine learning engineers who are skilled in these areas.

The Intersection of Data and Mental Health: A New Frontier for Data Talent

An interesting intersection of data and mental health has also emerged this month. An article titled "AI ushers in a new era of mental health monitoring" discusses how AI is transforming mental health care. AI's role in mental health care is pretty interesting and is increasingly becoming more important.  We’re finally starting to see mainstream use cases and applications of AI models to monitor mental health and provide early detection of mental health issues.

This development may create a niche for data professionals who can apply their skills in the mental health sector. With continued growth, there will be an inevitable need for data professionals who can develop these AI models further. 

The Role of Data Talent in the Business Sector

In the business sector, the use of data continues to dominate transformational activities. An article titled "Leveraging AI for smarter electronic data interchange" discusses how businesses are using AI to enhance EDI. With the integration of AI, businesses can now process and analyse the data within EDI more efficiently, leading to more informed business decisions.

Data Opportunity Market Trends: A Snapshot

So, our usual monthly call around has surfaced some interesting specificity in skills in demand in the important domain of data talent.

Social Skills

In the era of remote work and digital communication, social skills have become even more important than ever. Data professionals are no longer working in isolation; they are often part of remote and cross-functional teams and need to communicate complex data concepts to non-data colleagues. As such, professionals with strong communication, collaboration and interpersonal skills are even more highly sought after than previously.

Agile Methodologies

Agile methodologies have become the norm in many data-driven projects. They allow for flexibility and adaptability, which are very important in a field as dynamic as data. Professionals who are familiar with agile methodologies and can work in fast-paced, iterative project cycles are in high demand.

Finance Knowledge

Data has become particularly important in the finance sector. Increasingly, financial institutions are leveraging data to make more informed decisions, assess risks and predict market trends. As a consequence, data professionals with a strong understanding of finance and financial data are currently very highly sought after.

Technical Skills

On the technical side, expertise in Azure, Microsoft technologies and AWS is highly sought after. There seems to be a spike in demand here at present.  Watch this space for more commentary next month after we’ve had the opportunity to explore this further.

The Future of the Data Job Market

So, the demand for data professionals in the UK is expected to continue to grow. That’s good news, right?  However, data opportunities are also becoming more competitive. As more professionals enter the field, those with a unique combination of skills – such as a blend of data expertise, domain knowledge, social skills and business acumen – will always stand out to employers.


The data talent landscape in the UK continues to be dynamic and diverse, with developments spanning across various sectors. From government policies to data innovation stopping off in the domain of mental health, the continued impact of data is increasing – you don’t need to be told this but this will lead to an increased demand profile for skills many of our community possess. The data talent landscape in the UK is poised for exciting times ahead and it will be fascinating to watch how it unfolds.

Author Bio


Michael started MBN to deal with what he perceived as a weakness within the recruitment industry and its lack of deep domain expertise in the areas of data, analytics and technology. 15 years on, MBN is a hugely successful and market leading provider of People Solutions to disruptive and fast moving businesses seeking the very best talent to support their strategic intent. MBN’s success has come about through leadership and passion to collaborate and build communities of stakeholders. In recent years this has been evidenced through organising and facilitating two of the UK’s most compelling networking groups: Scotland Data Science & Technology and Blockchain Scotland Meet-Up Group. With such groups playing a pivotal role in helping to surface unmet clients’ needs and helping to build links with an enhanced candidate pool, he has also used this as a platform for growth by hosting events such as ScotChain, CityChain and Data Talent 2.0. Outside of MBN, he continues to act as an advisor and mentor to a number of start-ups, charities and third-sector organisations and have provided support to many government agencies seeking to understand the evolving complex landscape of Data Talent Acquisition.