The data science market is strongly driven by its candidates.
The availability of people within this field is not keeping up with the demand for their services, and the better candidates in the market are in huge demand when they come to look for a new role. Counter offers are standard practice and it’s unusual if a good candidate doesn’t have multiple offers. Even signed employment contracts are not always respected.
The candidates are most definitely king, and their ability shines to all corners of the market. To attract their attention, employers and us recruiters have to shine right back at them. We have to make ourselves attractive to them.
IT recruiters are starting to jump on the big data bandwagon
Running a data science recruitment firm, the key from my point of view is maintaining an unprecedented level of (industry expert) service. Large IT recruiters are starting to jump on the big data bandwagon, but their knowledge is not deep enough to talk at the required level. We do our best to join the debate on social media and “play” in the same conference and event sandpits where our candidates congregate. We want to be advisors rather than market traders. When you have four companies clamouring for your signature, you definitely still need advice as to which one might suit you best.
From a hiring company’s perspective, the beauty parade should not be underestimated. A candidate will do their research. You should be talking (and talked about) in the press about the scale of your data science plans. There should be a buzz in the market about the boundaries that you are pushing. The wider company should have a passion for innovation and an unrelenting pursuit of excellence. There honestly aren’t so many companies like this, but this is what every company should be striving towards.
Candidates need an environment in which they can thrive and weave their magic
How a company treats their employees is also a key consideration for the best data science candidates. They don’t expect special treatment, but I can say that flexible working, career development, and team building initiatives feature highly on a top candidate’s wish list. They need an environment in which they can thrive and weave their magic. If they are likely to be thwarted by bureaucracy and intrusive management, it isn’t likely that they will stay for long.
When great candidates are scarce, a recruiter’s job is to be an ambassador for their clients. We won’t ever “oversell” an employer as that damages our credibility, but we see our job as matching the specific needs of each candidate with the specific circumstances of each employer. Sometimes this throws up some unlikely matches, but nothing is as simple is it seems on the surface.