Are You Hiring for a Data Scientist? Should You Be?

We've seen an increasing number of listings that advertise for the specific job title of Data Scientist. As more companies make use of their data and turn numbers into actionable insight, it's not surprising that data titles are rising in demand.

In January 2013, there were 1,030 job listings that advertised for a Data Scientist. Over the past 30 days, there were about 1,930 job ads with this title. This is an 87% increase.

Data Scientists were most commonly advertised in the professional, scientific, and technical services sector, which includes computer systems design and related services and management, scientific, and technical consulting services. However, wholesale and retail trade experienced the biggest year-over-year increases in-demand.

Below is a list of sectors that had the greatest number of ads for this job title.

Hiring Volume for Data ScientistsHiring Volume for Data Scientists


Is hiring for a Data Scientist likely to be challenging? According to our Hiring Scale, which ranks hiring difficulty on a scale of 1 - 99, with 99 indicating hard-to-fill, Data Scientists score a 63. This means that Data Scientists are likely to be moderately difficult-to-fill. If you're actively recruiting for Data Scientists or expect to be in the future, then you may want to consider establishing a data science team rather than a dedicated position. In an Information Week article, Dr. Michael Wu, Chief Scientist at Lithium Technologies suggests that instead of hiring a Data Scientist, hire for 3 separate jobs. He says there's a misunderstanding of what a data scientist really is and that the actual duties should be performed by people with different skills sets: a business analyst, a machine learning expert, and a data engineer. He goes on to say that it's nearly impossible to find one person who excels in each of these areas and that organizations should instead build a data science team. Of the titles Dr. Wu suggested, Data Engineer is likely to be the hardest-to-recruit, scoring an 82 on the Hiring Scale. Below are Hiring Scale scores for Data Scientists, as well as Business Analyst and Machine Learning Expert as a comparison.

Hiring Scale Scores for Data Scientist Team Positions

Hiring Scale Scores for Data Science Positions

Regardless of which job you are hiring for, there are ways you can broaden your candidate supply. To reduce hiring difficulty for Data Scientists, Recruiters may want to refer to other job titles in their ads or expand their talent pool by looking for candidates with similar titles. As the terminology Data Scientist was formed in 2008, not many professionals may be using that exact title, but they may have the experience necessary for the position. The most commonly advertised job titles for Data Science positions are:

  1. Data Scientist
  2. Senior Data Scientist
  3. Software Engineer Data Classification
  4. Data Scientist Advanced Analytics Big Data Global Sales Support
  5. Scientist Principal Data Scientist
  6. Lead Data Scientist
  7. Data Scientist Analytics
  8. Software Developer
  9. Data Scientist Instructor Trainer
  10. Intern Data Scientist

Will you be recruiting a data science team or Data Scientist in 2014?

Views: 317

Comment by PAUL FOREL on March 2, 2014 at 7:21am


Hello...I am new here and am just now seeing this post.

You ask,

"Will you be recruiting a data science team or Data Scientist in 2014?"

Well, that is easy, especially since I don't let the word 'difficult' define the nature of my business.

If a recruiting assignment was not 'difficult' the search would not have been issued to an external search consultant.

That Dr. Wu suggests we advise our client to hire three people when they asked for one might work for you but it doesn't typically apply to anyone in the practice of executive search.

And if every time the word 'difficult' manifested itself I were to go running to Dr. Wu, well, I'd have to be splitting my recruitment fees with him and I certainly am not going to be doing that!

In the first place, you have entirely left out the business opportunity here that is fairly obvious to anyone in the executive search business:

This is, most possibly, an opportunity to explain to one's client why this search should rightfully become a retained search.


Are you really going to suggest a client hire three people from you and pay three search fees?

Good Luck With That, Ashley.

"...nearly impossible..." is not the same as 'impossible'.

And since the very nature of executive search is about finding needles in haystacks, I'd have to hang up my recruiting spurs (and be laughed out of town) were I to succumb to a background condition that by its very nature defines our business.

So, if you had turned this conversation into it being an opportunity to leverage the practice of Retained Search, I would have applauded you.

Now, of course, for those 'recruiters' who just have to have their LinkedIn, Google and/or ability to hang banners then yes, I can see how such a person might want to improvise instead of giving the client what was asked for.

But for those search consultants who have been properly trained in sourcing, well.....

Maybe you could offer your clients some kind of "3 for 1" deal.

You know, have them two more people than they asked for but only charge them for one person.

You would be diluting our earning capacity and devaluing our contribution to the executive search business but we know that trail has already been blazed.

...another cry baby recruiter, more or less, won't, incrementally, make that much difference, I suppose.

Tell Dr. Wu I said 'hello' and in fact, inasmuch as I have just recently recruited such a person (strictly coincidence and in fact, I have to give someone who told me about this niche a few months ago a taste of my fee once it is paid) I may ask if the client would prefer to pay me three fees instead of one.

Who knows, maybe this Dr. Wu is onto something.

Maybe it is moi who is missing an opportunity, n'est-ce pas?

LOL, as they say....


You need to be a member of RecruitingBlogs to add comments!

Join RecruitingBlogs


All the recruiting news you see here, delivered straight to your inbox.

Just enter your e-mail address below


RecruitingBlogs on Twitter

© 2024   All Rights Reserved   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service