With robots, more automation and the rise of cognitive computing being predicted to erase hundreds of thousands of jobs in North Carolina, a new report about the “next evolution” predicts growing job demand in one area: Analytics.

Companies need hundreds of thousands of data scientists and data managers as they broaden use of analytics across the enterprise.

The “Next Evolution” Analytics Trends 2016 report from research and consulting firm Deloitte points out that companies such as Cary-based SAS (which is advertising actively for new talent and supports a growing number of college degree programs in analytics) face a “deepening shortage” of talent.

In 2016 at SAS, hiring already is off to a strong point. There are just under 400 openings, with 152 in Cary. That’s more than double the number available in early 2015 when 71 positions were open locally. Not all of those are for data scientists, but SAS is a company driven by analytics and it has increased revenues annually now over four decades. So jobs related to analytics can be found by people with the right qualifications.

The Deloitte report comes just days after the Institute for Emerging Issues hosted a two-day conference (Future Work”) during which thought leads from the private sector as well as education and government huddled to talk about how to train future workers – and help those who will be pushed aside by the rush to a more technical/less human work force.

Data science offers a bright spot.

The growing use of analytics, especially the emerging trend of companies and enterprises expanding analytics network-wide, is creating jobs.

“[I]t’s obvious that universities and colleges can’t crank out data scientists fast enough to keep up with business demands,” Deloitte says in a new study.

The need is immediate, too.

“[T]hey certainly can’t produce experienced analysts from a two- or four-year program,” the firm reports.

It cites data from the 2015 MIT Sloan Management review and research firm IDC to back up the shortage talk:

  • 40% of respondents to the MIT survey say the are having trouble finding talent
  • A “need” for 181,000 people with “deep analytical skills” are needed by 2018.
  • Five times that many are needed for data management and interpretation
  • Even 26 percent of companies that consider themselves “analytics innovators” need more talent
  • And a whopping 83 percent of companies that acknowledge they are “analytics challenged” need people

“Red hot” recruiting

N.C. State and other universities have embraced analytics, and companies are hunting for talent on those campuses.

“With a rising number of analytics and data science programs at universities—more than 100 in the US alone—recruitment efforts in analytics are red hot today,” Deloitte said.

“Organizations recruiting at these campuses will likely find more success if they work closely with the programs on internships and student projects. Once recruited, these graduates are more likely to stay and do productive work if they have meaningful career paths and have the ability to work with others with similar skills and backgrounds.”

Companies also are looking for what Deloitte calls “external providers” for analytics skills.

“Smart companies are realizing that analytical talent is critical to their success and in short supply,” the report says. “They know they must get serious about preparing or partnering with this strategic workforce if they hope to successfully execute their strategies.”

An internal look for talent at Cisco

Other companies are looking internally for talent. The report cites Cisco, which operates one of its largest corporate campuses in RTP, as an example.

“Having decided that analytics and data science skills are key competencies for its organization, Cisco Systems has created an aggressive program for cultivating data scientists and data-savvy managers.

“The company has launched a five-month training program in partnership with two universities to teach employees from all functions the fundamentals of data science.

“To date, more than 200 employees have been trained. And for those who acquire the necessary skills, Cisco has created a well-defined career path in data science, with several roles that offer increased responsibilities and compensation over time. Cisco’s Data Science office has also maintained a laser focus.”

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