Data Market Observations June 2023: A view from London Tech Week

Usual suspect themes such as the continued rise of digitalisation and the increased transition towards data-driven decision making, were on the tip of many tongues.  The consensus was that the UK labour market is experiencing a surge in demand for data science, insight analysis and big data professionals. As companies across various sectors strive to harness the power of data, the landscape of these fields continues to evolve, marked by trends worth noting for both prospective job seekers and employers.

The demand for data scientists and other related roles remains strong, with a projected growth rate of 36% from 2021 to 2031​. This growth is driven by an array of sectors, with the IT and Tech industry taking the lead, accounting for 49% of the job advertisements on LinkedIn​. However, Financial Services and Staffing and Recruiting sectors are not far behind, representing 14% and 11% of open positions, respectively​.

This high demand for data professionals coincides with an interesting time in the UK labour market. There are historically high levels of unfilled vacancies across all sectors, creating a talent acquisition landscape that is fiercely competitive and this was a key discussion point during London Tech Week,​ with some anticipating that 47% of tech workers will be on the hunt for a new job in 2023​.

While an attractive salary remains a strong motivator for job seekers, with 43% stating it as the main reason for their moves, it is not the only factor in play. Increasingly, employees are valuing career development opportunities, wellbeing packages and greater flexibility in their roles​. Employers, therefore, must be prepared to offer more than just an appealing wage to secure top talent.  Whilst this is not a new message to any of our readers, it’s a key activity that is still in its infancy for many organisations.

In terms of qualifications, a third of job ads specifically require a data science degree. Nonetheless, there is a strong preference for candidates with higher education in related fields such as Statistics, Computer Science, or Mathematics​. For us, this highlights the interdisciplinary nature of data science roles and emphasises the importance of a robust skill set, combining technical acumen with industry-specific knowledge.  Again, you’ll be familiar with the regular stance that we take at MBN regarding the importance of domain and multi-disciplinary skills.

Geographically, data science job opportunities are not evenly distributed. Although specific UK data is tough to surface, looking at US data may give us an idea of potential trends. For example, in the US, California leads the way with 15% of data science job openings, followed by Virginia and Washington​. It's plausible that a similar geographic concentration exists in the UK, with cities like London, Cambridge and Manchester likely having the most job opportunities due to the prevalence of tech companies and universities.

However, the data science job market isn't solely about high demand and competitive salaries. It's equally about the transformative role these professionals play across industries. From enhancing customer experiences to informing strategic decisions, data scientists, insight analysts and big data professionals are the driving force behind data-informed innovation.

So, the UK job market for data science, insight analysis and big data is vibrant and dynamic, fuelled by cross-sector demand and the digitalisation of businesses. However, the competition for top talent is intense, prompting companies to provide more than just competitive salaries. They're now offering tangible career development opportunities, wellbeing packages and increased flexibility.

For aspiring professionals in these fields, the message is clear: equip yourself with the right qualifications, develop a diverse skill set and be open to opportunities across different sectors and locations. In doing so, you'll not only enhance your employability but also contribute to the exciting realm of data-driven innovation.


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.