Desperate for Data Scientists

LinkedIn reports dramatically increasing shortage of data scientists across U.S.

Woman's hands on a laptops keyboard, with data and charts in the background.
Photo: iStockphoto
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What a difference a few years makes. In 2015, a LinkedIn snapshot of what it calls the skills gap—a mismatch between the skills workers have and the skills employers seek—showed a national surplus in the United States of people with data science skills; as of August 2018, LinkedIn data shows a dramatic shortage.

LinkedIn calculates that, in August, employers were seeking 151,717 more data scientists than exist in the U.S. It came up with this number by comparing the skills listed on LinkedIn profiles with a weighted combination of skills that appear in job postings and the frequency at which LinkedIn members with a certain skill are hired relative to members without that skill.

By that calculation, the biggest shortage of data science experts is in New York City (34,032), followed by the San Francisco Bay Area (31,798), and Los Angeles (12,251). There are a few surplus data scientists in Cleveland-Akron (1206), Minneapolis (832), Cincinnati (770), and a few other metro areas, but, reports LinkedIn, these surpluses “are relatively small and narrowing rapidly.”

The quickly expanding gap demonstrates that “data science has become increasingly important across all industries, not just tech and finance,” and is expected to grow, the report stated. The full report is here.

Zooming in on the San Francisco Bay Area, where data scientists are indeed in short supply, LinkedIn’s August workforce report found there’s even more demand for social media experts (a gap of 34,222). But the biggest chasm in Silicon Valley is between demand for and supply of people who can get out from behind the keyboard and demonstrate oral communication skills (a shortage of 100,666). That report is here.

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