Data professionals who do not feel valued will look for an exit

What are the desirable aspects about Data jobs? Well, in short, they are classed as some of the best paid and ‘sexiest’ jobs going around. Working alongside equally skilled colleagues and the chance to show off expertise are also pretty cool too. So why would they be keen to exit your business?

It is a little surprising that a good percentage of data professionals spend hours per week actively looking for a new job – 13.2% to be precise, according to Stack Overflow. Machine learning specialists are slightly higher on the list. As we reported in a previous blogpost, a lot of these skilled individuals are also passively looking for another role and will wait to be approached by recruiters.

The sad fact is that there are lots of companies who are doing Data and AI because it’s the hip thing to do. Now we are not saying that using data to improve your business is the wrong thing to do if you are unsure of how to go about it. We are also not saying that the businesses that are doing it because it is ‘hip’ would have no use for data within their business. What we are saying is that these companies start off with the wrong intentions. Having bragging rights over a competitor is not a great place to start from. Understanding must come before infrastructure.

Data experts may join a company due to false promises. Perhaps they came in expecting the infrastructure to be there but find that they themselves have been tasked with actually creating that infrastructure. Companies can be guilty of ‘cold starting’, which basically means that they have nothing in place when their new hires come in. Add to that that the hires are often junior, taken on before senior roles are filled, and you can just imagine the resentment that may build and the inevitable result of data experts looking elsewhere.

They can also become disenfranchised with the lack of opportunity to make a difference to the company they have been hired by. Imagining hitting the ground running and then suddenly hitting a brick wall where the reality is that they have to do hours of thankless and misunderstood tasks in order to even dream of beginning the project they were excited to start, can be dispiriting.

Database, analytics, you name it, it may be required of a data expert to wear many hats, including ones they are not confident to wear, do not desire to wear or were not hired to wear. Because it is little understood, data can mean many things to management and if they need something doing within that realm, they will call the data expert, pulling them away from their important project. The requirement to please higher-ups with tasks that are not within their remit, is one more reason that those data experts will be sending their resumes out speculatively.

Office politics can take their toll on data experts who simply wish to show their abilities and make a difference. If those who have power over the team or departmental budgets do not see quick results or do not understand the processes involved, life can become difficult for data teams. This can require pointless reports being produced for the purpose of vanity. It is all about perception and keeping the right people onside becomes paramount yet this ultimately drains time and effort and can lead data professionals to look to the door.

Whether it is office politics, misunderstandings or perhaps the fact that the data team feels isolated from the rest of the company, one thing is clear here: it does not have to be this way. It is hard to find and attract a great data professional to a company in the first place, so they, and their discipline, should be respected. A specialist data recruiter should act like a broker, working hard on the company’s behalf to ensure that things match up between expectation and reality. There needs to be mediation between a client, who expect certain things in terms of data results, and a candidate, who can achieve different things. Understanding and helping create a fully-functioning team within the body of the business is a skill that comes from experience and it is definitely something you should consider if the future of your business depends on data.

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