Analytics & Data Science Hiring Market Settling Down as Fewer Change Jobs

By Linda Burtch, Mar 20, 2018

Is the analytics and data science market starting to settle down? Our recent analysis of job change and tenure shows an interesting new development, which certainly suggests that things are leveling out a bit.

Although there are still many openings for analytics and data science positions, the tremendous shortage appears to have slightly abated as more professionals enter the market and many open positions were filled in 2016.

It would be ridiculous to suggest that the supply of analytics and data science professionals is even close to meeting the immense demand right now, but they do appear to be a bit closer together than in years past, and this may be having an effect on the results.

How many analytics & data science professionals are changing jobs?

As you can see below, the percentage of quantitative professionals who changed jobs in 2017 dropped for both analytics professionals and data scientists.

12.4% of analytics professionals changed jobs in 2017 compared to 19.1% in 2016, and 24.0% of data scientists changed jobs in 2017 compared to 30.0% in 2016. Our analysis focuses on professionals who changed companies, so it doesn’t count those who were promoted or otherwise changed jobs within the same company.

For those who aren’t familiar with our methodology for separating analytics professionals and data scientists, we have typically kept the two categories distinct from each other for analysis in our salary studies (since they tend to have different salary bands). You can learn more about how we define data scientists for our studies here. Obviously as the lines between analytics and data science have begun to blur in recent years, we’ve kept an eye on this developing trend.

How long are these professionals staying at their jobs?

Always a hot topic in my conversations with the analytics professionals, data scientists, and employers that I work with has been – how long do quantitative folks stay at their jobs?

I’ve previously shared my thoughts on what the ideal tenure is at different stages in one’s career, but it can also be helpful to look at industry averages to determine what the rest of the market is up to!

We took a look at the professionals who did change companies in 2017, and examined how long they stayed at their previous jobs. As you can see, both analytics professionals and data scientists stayed at their jobs longer in our 2017 analysis than they did in 2016 – tenure in both groups increased by about a year!

Analytics professionals stayed 2.4 years in 2016 which increased to 3.4 years in 2017, and data scientists stayed only 1.5 years in 2016 which increased to 2.5 years in 2017.

What does this mean?

Given the implications this relative settling effect could have on compensation, it will be interesting to see what our data science salary study turns up in April! Last year’s study showed data science salary growth levelling off in comparison to past years, and most notably salaries for the most junior level data scientists actually decreased. This is especially interesting because in our previous studies this group typically saw the largest increases percentage-wise.

We’ve seen huge compensation increases in previous years, but if the market is indeed settling down than those increases likely will settle down as well, especially as the shortage becomes less severe. Keep an eye out for our salary study in April and we’ll see!

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that 2018 has started out with a bang in terms of hiring for quantitative teams. So far this year we’ve seen a tremendous sense of urgency to fill open roles and expand capabilities, so I would not be surprised if next year these numbers have shifted once again.

Originally published by Burtch Works.

About the author

Author photo

Linda Burtch is the founder and managing director of Burtch Works Executive Recruiting, and has over 30 years of experience placing analytics professionals nationwide. Linda’s views on the analytics and data science professions have often been sought by business media, including interviews with The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Mashable,, the Chicago Tribune, Fox News, InformationWeek, PC World, Analytics Magazine, and many more. She is also a frequent speaker on analytics career topics at luncheons, conferences, corporate meetings, and webinars.

Ms. Burtch has been an executive board member of the Chicago Chapter of the American Statistical Association for over ten years, and is an active member of INFORMS. Linda has maintained a business blog for many years, sharing data and insights about the hiring market with the analytics community and their employers. Before becoming an analytics recruiter, Linda began her career in the corporate sphere of Whirlpool and Pepsi after earning her Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and an MBA.


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