Up to 21,000 jobs could be created in data analytics in Ireland by 2020

7 May 2014

Ireland could create between 12,750 and 21,000 jobs in data analytics if it maintains its focus on creating skills in maths, statistics and management science, according to Forfás and the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN).

There is a global shortage of skilled professionals required to fill direct high-end jobs in this area. Today’s report, Assessing The Demand For Big Data And Analytics Skills, identifies measures to build the big data and analytics talent pool in Ireland over the period up to 2020 in line with enterprise demand.

“If we want Ireland to become a leading country for data analytics, we need to ensure we have a supply of suitably qualified analytics talent who will choose careers in this area,” Education Minister Ruairí Quinn said of the report.

“This will require that both businesses and schools raise awareness and communicate these career options to young people, their parents and those looking to reskill.”

Global shortage of ‘deep analytical’ skills

The report notes that big data and analytics is a relatively new area of business activity characterised by rapid growth. Globally, there is a reported shortage of data analytics talent, particularly individuals with the required ‘deep analytical’ skills.

At present, no one country or region stands out in the provision of data analytics services and there is a significant opportunity for Ireland to gain ground here.

The report highlights that for Ireland to become a leading country in data analytics services, it is essential its skills capability base is sufficient to drive performance within existing enterprises, start-ups and new foreign direct investment.

“A key trend observed internationally is the interdisciplinary approach to big data and analytics education,” Quinn said.

“Higher education institutions are looking at ways of using and re-orienting their existing resources across disciplines, including computing, business, statistics, marketing and engineering. The collaboration of higher education with industry in the design and development of new data analytic programmes is another key trend and I am pleased that there are innovative examples here within our universities.”

Data-savvy roles

The 21,000 potential job vacancies for skilled professionals could arise under the report’s high-growth scenario, from both expansion and replacement demand in the period up to 2020 – comprising 3,630 for deep analytical roles and 17,470 for big data-savvy roles.

There is also potential for a further identified 8,780 job openings for supporting technology staff. However, it is important to note that figure has already been included within the demand forecast numbers for ICT professionals in the Forfás/EGFSN report Addressing Future Demand for High-Level ICT Skills and is the subject of initiatives to address such demand in the Government’s ICT Action Plan launched in March.

“This joint Forfás and EGFSN report highlights the need to boost the output and quality of our analytical talent to take advantage of potential job openings and business opportunities,” Forfás chief executive Martin Shanahan said. 

“The report highlights the supporting conditions necessary if Ireland is to position itself as a leading data analytic country in Europe. These conditions include greater access to open data, a boost in domestic talent supply, and ensuring international competitiveness.

“Many of the elements to support the development of data analytics and big data are already in place in Ireland, including the existing base of enterprises in this space and a growing base of relevant publically funded research activity, including the Insight Centre for Data Analytics and the Centre for Applied Data Analytics Research.”

Big data image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy
By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years. His interests include all things technological, music, movies, reading, history, gaming and losing the occasional game of poker.

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