Analytics a potential jobs growth area, but skills lacking

5 May 2011

There are at least 400 jobs available now in data management and mining in Ireland among the membership of the Analytics Institute, but the right candidates are not available to fill the roles due to a shortage of skills.

To address this gap, the institute is hosting a series of seminars and workshops starting next Monday, 9 May.

”There’s potential for thousands of jobs in Ireland if we can provide enough of the key ingredient – skills. Ireland needs to become a data-friendly location attracting the analytical market leaders to base here. Creating high-calibre, well-trained analytics graduates and a vibrant analytics community is instrumental in achieving this,” said Kevin Magee, CEO of the Analytics Institute, which was set up around a year ago and now has 10 organisational members.

“Education has to take place on a variety of fronts. But the problem is, third-level education is medium- to long-term so the immediate needs won’t be met for at least two years. We need to step in and take action and that is what we are doing by introducing the first in a series of seminars and workshops tackling the immediate refinement of existing professional skills.”

An opportunity for Ireland to harness analytics

The skills shortage is not unique to Ireland but Magee said Ireland has an opportunity to harness analytics both within its business landscape and as a national agenda item.

“Analytics is really about getting insights from data. As the surge of data threatens to overwhelm companies, it can help glean valuable information to make ‘evidence-based decision making’ – this removes the ‘gut feeling’ about decisions making the decision process clearer.

“So whether you want to know the best place to locate a hospital, how to make your organisation more sustainable, identify areas of high risk, reduce error or highlight fraud, analytics will help you do that.”

An intern programme introduced

Working with the universities to improve the output from third level, the Analytics Institute last year introduced an intern programme between University College Dublin and public and private-sector organisations, which proved so valuable it was extended this year, according to Magee.

”The students gain real experience on real projects, and the organisations benefit from being able to later hire somewhat more experienced graduates, familiar with the tools and technologies.”

Later this year, the Analytics Institute will be introducing a continuing professional development and accreditation programme. This is important, as it means that in an increasingly transient world where workers move, their skills have international recognition. It also makes it easier for employers to identify the right skills to fit their industry and helps cement a defined career path for young professionals who are deciding what path to take.

The seminar on 9 May is taking place at the Royal College of Physicians Ireland and is entitled ‘How Sure Can You Be? Communication and Critical Thinking as Tools for Success’. It will feature speakers from the Central Statistics Office, Accenture, SAS and EUROSINT.

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