You Need Clarity In Your Data Plan

At the centre of your plan must be clarity

The concepts of Data Science, AI and Cloud have gone from buzz words to becoming fundamental components of how businesses now operate. Data now sits at the core of operations and the Covid pandemic has significantly sped this up.

Transforming data into insight has revolutionised business. The people involved in creating the team need a foundational understanding of the key components and ideas behind data science and big data analytics.

The urgency to apply Data, AI and Machine Learning principles to improve, for example, efficiency of remote working means that many companies may not fully understand what they are trying to achieve. It’s one thing to say, “We need to implement AI, because it will make us more efficient and our competitors are doing it” but what are the specific objectives and how do you get that result?

The speed at which the data is required to pass through the system differs from project to project but largely large data projects require faster processing to make sure the data is sorted in a timely manner. The data will also likely be entering the process from different directions and sources and must be cleaned, sorted and ordered in order for it to make sense compared to the data already in the system and for insights to be found.

For a big data process to run smoothly, these days it is common for it to utilise a streaming system which will work in a close to real time capacity. Data pipelines must be solid and strong to cope with so much data passing through.

Big data is really no different than any other kind of dataset apart from the size and speed of the data being processed, plus the fact that the data will likely require new solutions to challenges it presents. Forming insights from huge amounts of data is the end goal and the key is usually finding innovative ways of making this possible.

The storage and processing of largescale amounts of data is what will define a big data system. This is, more often than not, happening on more than one server, which is where Cloud computing comes in, which brings with it other challenges such as security and allocation. Tasks must be broke up into smaller parts in a variety of ways in order to make the most of the resources needed.

What is the data and where is it coming from? Text, images, logs? APIs, Servers, sensors, social media? There are so many directions that your data can come from and it must be configured somehow, eventually, into one process. The perfect scenario is for the data to be transformed so that it is organised and formatted at the point of entry but that is not always possible and the work must be done at the backend by talent data scientists.

Quality is the watchword when it comes to data, and the system must be able to sort and separate good data from bad, making sure the processing power of the servers, be they physically on the premises or Cloud-based, is best used and not wasted on fool’s errands. Using resources to clean the data first can save time and money in the long run. At all stages it must be ascertained whether the data is providing real value.

When you are clear about what you are looking to get out of data, it becomes apparent which type of individual you need to hire to achieve those goals. Companies will have specific needs relating to the type of data specialist they need and for which job.

The major problem at this stage is that, if the goal is not clear, candidates will try and probably fail at interview as they attempt to mould their skill set to the generalist job requirements set out on the job spec. Dedicated recruitment partners will guide you through this minefield.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Why Is There Increased Demand For Data Science Candidates?

No need to throw your hands up because we can help

There is undoubtedly an increase in the demand for data scientists so we thought we would take a look at the factors that are affecting the demand and also those factors impacting upon the lack of suitable candidates.

Not only have companies been using data science to handle their own data pre-Covid-19, but during the pandemic they have scaled up their data usage to measure the effects of the pandemic on their businesses in order to find solutions to newly-emerging problems.

The explosion within the sheer amount and complexity of data that each and every person produces thanks to our interactions with technology, has led to an urgent need for companies to mine, clean, sort and model that information in order to make sense of it in relation to their business.

The actual global value of data science has increased from around $4bn in 2019 to $64bn in 2021, which goes some way to demonstrate why everyone is requiring data scientists, and that is not counting other disciplines such as data analytics.

Before the pandemic, the role of data scientist was still very much in demand, being considered cool and displaying huge growth. The reason behind the heralding of data science to such a crazy height back then is possibly down to the fact that there is much overlap and misunderstanding between data science and the other newly emerging roles. When a hiring manager does not understand the differences between these seemingly similar roles, the job specs and hiring can draw in candidates who are then given more responsibilities, some of which are outside their skillset. A lot of the time the candidates just get on with it, tired of having to explain themselves and their role to management who are not listening. This can ultimately lead to projects falling behind because certain roles are stretching the data scientists or because there is just too much work to do in the allotted time. If ‘data scientist’ is considered a one-size-fits-all title, then of course when polls are done, it will seem that the only jobs in that realm are those of ‘data scientist’.

With the ramping up of data projects, the market for data scientist roles has bounced back from a lull during 2020 due to the pandemic and lockdowns affecting the economy. There was, even then, a demand for data scientists, even if the job boards didn’t reflect this, and there is even more of a demand now for those skilled individuals.

And there is no sign of a slowdown. Data is expected to be worth $103bn by 2027 and that is without taking into account those sectors connected to it either, which could lead to an increase of jobs of over 15 percent within the USA alone, probably mirrored globally.

With advances in technology, human beings’ data creation becomes more complex and increases constantly. As it improves, more businesses use and harness its uses. Something like the Cloud, which did not exist in its present form a decade ago, is becoming integral in how companies handle their computing, storage and data, and with this comes the need for more workers who can handle and control it.

A major factor in an even more increased demand is that firms are seeking to improve efficiency and use their data to grow their business beyond their traditional model. There has been an increase of data science courses in order to fill the skills gap, which is still a huge problem for companies filling the vacant or newly created roles.

Right now, the correctly qualified and experienced candidates are hard to find because they are already in roles where they are using those skills already. Only dedicated experts and partners know where to find them. It will take a while before the shortages can be corrected and until then, you either need to know where to look or you need to know someone who does.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

What Is Behind Recent Recruitment Difficulties?

I spy with my little eye, we can’t recruit but why?

You will have heard about the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of job vacancies out there on the market. What you may not be so aware of are the difficulties in recruiting.

Post-lockdown positivity has led to a boom for jobseekers yet that boom may turn into a bust, as employers are finding it more and more difficult to track down candidates for the vacant job roles.

The UK and Ireland are currently experiencing the strongest growth in Europe.

After redundancies and job freezes last year, companies are looking to bounce back. Yet, of the 61% of companies that were recruiting in the 3rd quarter, 77% of them noted difficulties. There is enhanced customer demand but on the flipside, there are not enough employees to fill these roles.

The British Chamber of Commerce noticed that the number of businesses struggling with recruitment has been rising. The impact is huge and there is real fear that it will continue to rise for some time. The ManpowerGroup also noted an increase of 13% in hiring intention.

Half of those who took part in the BCC survey revealed that they had difficulty hiring skilled tech staff. We have highlighted this previously.

The service industry and manufacturing were hit hardest and both are on, or very near to, the highest number since the data started to be recorded. Consumer services are the least affected. Unskilled roles are affected too and it is this all-encompassing recruitment problem that makes it so unique, as it is touching every sector.

Companies experiencing this are shocked and frightened by this, not having experienced anything similar in recent memory. Full-time posts are most affected and within this fact, lies the most damaging trend. A lot of companies are raising the pay they offer but it makes no difference.

These shortages are having a serious impact on the economic recovery. The longer a vacancy goes unfilled, the less a firm can operate as it needs to.

Investment can help but things like apprenticeships take time to come to fruition, time that these companies don’t have. Some have criticised the government for this, and while they can certainly take some of the blame, they also can’t fix it quickly, with any initiatives they may put forth also taking time to come to fruition.

Rising rents, rising energy prices and pressure to increase wages that have stagnated, are all contributing to problems for companies. If the pressure continues unabated, those companies may fold in the near future.

So what is behind this. The main theory is that Brexit, which made migrant workers return to their home countries, or at least to go to another EU country where they still had a right to work, has contributed significantly. This has also led to a skills shortage. The UK skills shortage is also the largest in Europe.

Additionally, Covid-19 has had a two-fold impact, with an estimated 160,000 deaths, many of whom were of working age, and the self-isolation/pingdemic disrupting employees’ ability to go to work or commit to work. This has led businesses to increase wages but to no avail. Haulage firms have increased their pay by 20%, for example, just to get things moving.

Those businesses who had prepared for a shortage when Brexit came in have then been blindsided by the Covid-19-related perfect storm. It is going to be a tough winter and fingers crossed that visa problems can be solved, there are no more lockdowns, firms continue to employ specialist recruitment partners and we all have a very merry Christmas.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

How Has Covid-19 Impacted Recruitment?

The impact of Covid-19 has been felt throughout the recruitment sphere

Recruitment is all about finding the best candidates, no matter what the circumstances are, but with the Covid-19 Pandemic, certain elements have changed, causing ripple effects throughout the industry, and as we know, things that affect the recruitment business then affect all the other businesses that require recruitment.

Some changes are positive and some are negative. Hopefully the positives will stay and the negatives will leave, but we shall see. Having your finger on the pulse of recruitment should stand you in good stead for the future.

Virtual working and virtual hiring look set to stick around a while longer. As much as it makes the process of hiring feel unreal and in some ways diluted, many companies are carrying on, and, with no real end in sight for Covid-19, the HR/safety concern is understandable. Of course, this way of doing things is also driving jobs to the market for people to handle the tech responsibilities so that is keeping recruiters busy.

While this is driven by Covid-19 safety, many companies have still not gotten to grips with how to hire this way and especially not how to present the organisation as well as it possibly can be presented. Rushed interviews, distracted interviewers and technical glitches all contribute to a bad impression. Remote hiring is no joke and may well be the new normal so everyone should be taking it seriously.

Inclusivity and diversity has always been an important topic in need of serious thought and action but the pandemic has shone a light on just what companies have been doing to make this a reality. Which the changes brought, there is no better time than now for an organisation to reassess its core principles. The new generations are looking to businesses to demonstrate that they care, and they are willing to vote with their feet if they feel the effort is lacking. This requires leadership and if they do not see that leadership, worker retention plummets.

Mental wellbeing needs to be supported, especially when workers are communicating their isolation during Covid-19. This is another conversation that has been a long time coming and now that it is being had, businesses are seeing how they have been lacking. After the pandemic is over, the offer of counselling and therapy, as well as the positive aspects of flexible working, should continue.

Businesses are waking up to the fact that overworked and overstressed employees, close to burnout, are not the most productive and that their depressed feelings can impact the rest of the team. If a recruiter cannot allay any concerns regarding these workplace processes, then you will lose that candidate.

As we have learned from the past few years, anything can happen so plans should be put in place for many eventualities. Being adaptable is paramount these days and when you encounter new responsibilities or even new job descriptions emerging during difficult times, one should be ready.

In addition, learning and training has been pushed to the fore, as job roles are reassessed and worker retention is prioritised. Those who already consistently learn and update their skillset are already ahead of the game. Recruiters are looking for that pro-active approach now more than ever.

With reassessment has come the realisation in some companies that they really required part-time employees in some roles, or temporary recruit for a select period of time. This kind of flexibility has created some new roles and done away with others. That kind of working works for some employees and does not work for others. Recruiters need to be upfront about what is really on offer so that the candidate can make up their mind quickly whether it is for them or not.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Does Your AI Strategy Make Sense?

AI should be handled intelligently

Artificial Intelligence projects that are coming back online after stalling during the pandemic need careful consideration or they risk falling apart, according to a new report.

The Gartner report states that a strong AI engineering strategy is required by companies to ensure there are no failures within AI projects. The proof-of-concept stage must lead on to full roll-out of the project and to make this happen, strategies must not fall by the wayside.

Obviously, before you embark on an AI strategy, you should really undertake a ‘proof of value’ assessment on the viability of the project and whether it will meet business needs. Of course, PoVs are not where you define the problem, just where you, as the name suggests, prove the value.

AI projects usually fall apart due to lack of maintenance, the inability to scale and failure to govern correctly. A strong strategy will overcome these problems, justifying the investment and helping the project become reliable and easier to interpret.

Briefly, the three areas that must be dealt with are:

  1. Data – the collection, cleaning and arrangement of data is imperative. If this stage is not taken seriously enough, you will have long-term impacts further down the line.
  2. Machine Learning – the training, testing and fine tuning of the algorithm the team has designed and built.
  3. Artificial Intelligence – the AI comes in to play in order to use the data. This must be deployed and closely monitored.

The storage and accessibility of your data should also be understood. Are you working from physical servers or are you using the cloud? What is your security like on the cloud side? Also, have you factored in QA throughout the whole project?

Apart from cloud security, you should always be watchful over all of your data, no matter where it is. Some businesses will be outsourcing tasks but regardless, the data should not be sensitive data and should be treated with the utmost respect.

AI engineering draws together the disciplines of DevOps, ModelOps and DataOps. DevOps is about the speed of changes in code, data or models and is important in AI projects where variables are the norm and this discipline is used for data in DataOps and ML in ModelOps.

A lot of companies, emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic, are engaging in ‘responsible AI’, which takes in trust, accountability, compliance, risk, transparency and fairness, amongst other things. This marks a change from viewing AI as something ‘other’, to understanding that it is now an inseparable part of the business, and thus, must be held to the same standards. As Gartner says, every company is now a technology company.

With companies in the situations they are in, regarding the pandemic, it is understandable that they are chomping at the bit to get going, but speeding ahead without the correct planning would be a mistake. Plans that seemed solid prior the Covid-19 should be reassessed, in light of changing priorities within the business and what has been learned about the business in these testing times.

We have not even mentioned the team yet either, as the success of AI projects stands or falls on the quality of the team involved. This will require a dedicated recruiter, to track down the key players in order to create an AI project fit for the new era of your company.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

The Rise In Job Vacancies Is Exposing Flawed Recruitment

For many businesses, the recruitment strategy is not clean or tidy

Job vacancies have skyrocketed as the economy picks up pace and it is fair to say that it has taken a few people by surprise. In entertainment, IT, construction, the service industry, etc., job vacancies hit around 950k for the 3 months up to July, just shy of a million, according to ONS.

With unemployment falling, the market outdid expectations, possibly due to an economic boost related to restriction relaxation. Exacerbating the disparity between candidates and vacancies, businesses are trying to catch up.

While some are pointing to labour shortages, one possible reason for the gap is the refusal, by companies, to acknowledge the need for a change-up within their recruitment strategy. We use the word ‘strategy’ lightly, as for most organisations, their recruitment is a rote, repetitive routine, unchanged for many years.

With those levels of job vacancies, generalist recruiters are snowed under. This may be a good time for them, but it isn’t such a great time for companies who are requiring really specialist candidates. We have spoken before about those recruiters going for the easiest results and now is no different. Unless you have trained yourself out of it, humans naturally go for the lowest hanging fruit. It is a fact of life and recruiters are no different.

We are not blaming generalist recruiters for this, as companies who need candidates have no one else to blame but themselves. If you have engaged the services of one or more recruiters to feed you CVs, but with no guarantee of a reward at the end of the process, why would they do the work for you? If they get an easier challenge which is more likely to pay off for them, why would they not go for that? If your industry ran on those same rules, you would also be focused on those low-hanging fruit, those easy wins, to bolster your confidence and your bank balance.

Basically: what kind of service do you expect if the service is free?

To put it frankly, this situation has never been easy. Companies just didn’t focus on the realities of it before. They were immune to it when the times were good. It was a nightmare before, how hard do you think it is now?

It is very likely that, right now, you are starting to wonder when you will hear from the agencies you tasked with finding you prime prospects. You probably won’t hear back from them. They are busy finding the easier-to-find candidates for someone else. Why should those agencies send you resumes?

Because they said they would? When the chips are down, they have better things to do. Life is about partnerships and relationships. You do not have a partnership with them. You don’t really have a relationship with them. They don’t owe you anything. It may sound harsh, but it is the truth.

If you are expecting loyalty from them, think about the loyalty you have shown them. Is there even any loyalty there? Did you select one recruiter to find you what you need, or did you contact a few in the hopes that one of them will come through? How can you expect the results you want if you cannot be loyal to them?

We appreciate that you haven’t thought about any of this before and it can be something of a paradigm shift to reconsider your whole approach to recruitment. If everything is going well, then you don’t need to worry. If, however, you have noticed that things aren’t running as smoothly as you would like, then that needs to be addressed.

With one million job vacancies, think about when recruiters will finally get around to helping you with your recruitment. You can wait around and hope or you can do something about it.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.