As the global economy has become increasingly digital, the importance of data related skills in commerce has grown. At Experian we employ thousands of data engineers, data scientists, data analysts, to name just a few of the roles we rely upon to drive our
But it’s not just data companies that are looking for people to support their ambitions. Career paths across a wide spectrum of industries – from fashion design to sports coaching, finance, and marketing – now require an element of data engineering expertise.
Demand for ‘data professionals’ has tripled in last five years alone.
Despite this trend, there are still barriers to overcome. According to a recent piece of research we conducted, only one fifth of women studying at degree level are currently thinking about pursuing a career working in data. Most female students are apparently
put off because the don’t think they have the right set of skills, with nearly half (48 per cent) suggesting they’d ruled out this career path due to a lack of confidence with science or maths.
Encouragingly there is appetite amongst younger female students to learn more about careers in data. Over two fifths (46 per cent) of young women studying at further education level (such as A-Levels) say the curriculum should be updated so students learn
how data and maths can address some of society’s major challenges, such as the climate crisis.
Many female university students also see the benefits of a career working in data. Among those definitely open to pursuing tech as a career path, 36 per cent think that such jobs may pay more, while 30 per cent say they have been inspired by someone they
know working in the field. However, education institutions and companies still clearly need to do more. Only 31 per cent of women at degree level said that they have noticed ads for data-related roles on social media.
To raise awareness of the opportunities available to students of all backgrounds, Experian has partnered with The Data inspiration Group to support its Digdata initiative, a programme of bite-sized, virtual work-experience challenges, live online career
panels and classroom resources. Digdata is designed for all students in secondary and tertiary education, as well as teaching staff and career leaders.
As data teams increase their roles and influence, the skills required to be successful go beyond numeracy. A career working with data requires people who are creative problem solvers, inquisitive thinkers, and good communicators – skills that are transferable
from all curriculum subjects and that are relevant to multiple industry sectors.
The government clearly signalled its commitment to this with the launch of the UK National Data Strategy as a mechanism to stimulate economic innovation and growth. As the UK looks to build a world-leading data economy, it’s important that we develop key
skills and raise awareness about how a career working with data can offer a great career path for young people from all backgrounds.