With demand for data scientists vastly outpacing supply, organizations with data-driven initiatives on their roadmaps need effective strategies to ensure they have (or can attract) the right data talent to execute. Firms must think critically about:

(1) Talent attraction

(2) The interview experience

(3) Assessing incoming talent, and

(4) How their employer brand affects the entire hiring funnel

According to LinkedIn, the U.S. economy is currently experiencing a nationwide shortage of 151,717 people with data science skills. The supply-demand gap is affecting organizations across many different industries with even the most prestigious companies struggling to navigate the growing talent shortfall.

To learn more about our research on the data talent market, check out our 2019 Future of Data Talent Annual Report.

In this post, we'll discuss employer branding and examine how investment in this area is helping firms overcome the data talent shortage.

Culture

According to a Hired.com report, 'Company Culture' ranked as the second most important factor considered by job seekers. 'Culture' ranked ahead of other things like: 'Opportunity to Learn New Skills', 'Challenging Technical Problems to Solve' and 'Team'.

In fact, Culture (45%) came in just behind the number one factor, 'Compensation and Benefits' (55%). A company's culture is a hugely important component of an employer brand.

As an example, Microsoft has invested a great deal in their employer brand and culture since Satya Nadella was elevated to CEO in 2014. Nadella recently had this to say about the culture Microsoft is working to develop:

"You join here, not to be cool, but to make others cool."

This ethos communicates the type of organization candidates can expect to join—one that cares about and prioritizes people. An anonymous Glassdoor review from a Software Design Engineer echoed this view on the Microsoft workplace:

"Can't speak for all teams/orgs but I love mine and couldn't ask for a better work environment. Emphasis is placed on end product and working together, instead of looking busy and trying to outshine your coworkers."

Microsoft lists the following company values on its website for all incoming candidates to see:

1. Innovation

2. Diversity & Inclusion

3. Corporate Social Responsibility

4. Philanthropies

5. Environment

6. Trustworthy Computing

These values are compelling, especially when we consider Bill & Melinda Gates' philanthropic reputation. Microsoft's mention of privacy and security (as part of the Trustworthy Computing value), is also an employer brand differentiator on the heels of Facebook's recent privacy issues. In a world where bad publicity is worse than no publicity, and every one has a voice, managing an employer brand is a high-stakes, high-reward game.

Innovation

Another pathway to building an elite employer brand is by way of innovation. Citadel, a $30B hedge fund and Correlation One client, has invested greatly in its employer brand in recent years. Here's a statement taken from the firm's about page:

"We drive our mission through a culture of excellence: constantly improving, continuously learning, rewarding results, and winning with integrity."

Citadel and Correlation One host Datathons (data science competitions) at top universities around the world to attract the best students to compete. Each datathon awards prize money to winning teams of aspiring data scientists. More importantly, these innovative 'talent-magnet' events communicate to aspiring professionals that a firm like Citadel is serious about 'learning', 'rewarding results' and 'winning with integrity' as stated on the company's website.

Learn more about talent attraction, talent engagement, and Datathons here.

To cap off the 2018-2019 global datathon series, Citadel and Correlation One partnered up to host the Data Open Championship at the NYSE in April 2019. At the championship, teams that won regional datathons competed on a new data science problem statement for a $100,000 grand prize and global recognition. These innovative strategies earned Citadel a spot on LinkedIn's Top 50 places to work in the US list and has elevated the the firm's employer brand to elite status.

Future of Data Talent

We recently released a report on the current and future state of the data talent market. In the report, we expound on complex challenges like employer brand investment and talent sourcing. The report also ranks the Top 25 undergraduate, Masters, and PhD programs when it comes to producing data talent, as well as lots of other great insights.

You can download the Future of Data Talent, 2019 Annual Report here.