Huge salaries on offer for Australia’s data miners

Data scientists with the ability to analyse and mine the social stream are absolutely trousering it — holding down a median salary just shy of $A200k according to the second annual IAPA Skills and Salary survey.

The study, released yesterday, found that analytics remains a tight labour market down under. According to the study, the mean salary for analytics professionals rose 14 per cent year-on-year from $A110K to $A125K despite an upswing in the number of junior, lower-paid practitioners.

The hottest demand is coming from IT, insurance banking and finance and professional services.

According to the study, those who analyse and mine social media and social network data are earning a 50 per cent premium over the average respondent’s salary. This group has a median salary of $A190K — almost three times the median Australian salary.

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With social analytics typically located in the marketing domain and marketing nominated as the most common owner of the analytics function, the CMO is quickly becoming the key analytics decision maker,” said Jodie Sangster, ADMA/IAPA CEO.

Among the other key findings:

  • Recruiting analysts remains a challenge;
  • Analysts make twice — sometimes three times — the average Aussie salary;
  • People from other disciplines are now moving into the industry;
  • A disconnect remains between business and analysts — ‘decision inertia’;>
  • Data scientist professionals are uniquely skilled.

The global trend of demand for talented analysts outstripping supply remains true in Australia with the majority of managers reporting difficulty filling positions,” said Sangster. “This is an area we need to address through education and upskilling to ensure we have the future professionals required in this field.

The study reveals that analytics professionals earn almost twice the median Australian salary — $A125K annually. “Respondents in the workforce for up to three years and now working in analytics had a median salary of $A72–75K, while those working for 14 to 16 years had a median salary of $A152–194K. (Variations are based on whether analysts are in industry or the supply side),” say the authors.

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And the trend remains the data scientist’s friend. “The median respondent earns nearly double the Australian full-time median salary. Over 90 per cent of respondents earn more than the median Australian salary.

In fact, the study found that the upper quartile of respondents earns two and a half times the median Australian salary. “Higher salaries are associated with tenure, education, experience and a breadth of both technical and soft skills. As would be expected, managerial salaries increase as team sizes increase.

Those teams remain small for the time being. The majority (61 per cent) have one to five team members.

The broad salary trend continues upwards with over 70 per cent of respondents having seen their salary increase over the last three years. Down from last year, roughly 22 per cent of respondents have seen their salary increase markedly over this time.

The report notes that “With the rise of digital and the Internet of Things, the business world has access to data and, in some cases, vast datasets on every aspect of their business. Unlocking the value of that data and transforming it into insights to power decision-making requires a special mind, skillset and knowledge — an analytics professional.

Structured and unstructured data is being tapped for the hidden business truths that can revitalise an organisation’s bottom line, says the report.

While the study found that analytics is becoming mainstream, there is still a way to go when it comes to persauding many organisations of the value proposition. The authors report that “A large proportion of respondents feel their analysis is not valued or acted upon by the organisation. This could point to a disconnect between organisations and respondents; are business decision-makers adding ‘centralised analytics’ without listening to the resulting insights? Or are analytics professionals’ perceptions misplaced?

Analytics is becoming a career magnet,” said Doug Campbell, IAPA Chairman. “The report shows that respondents are moving into the field from other disciplines — evidence that analytics is emerging as an attractive career option.

The survey is available for download (registration required)

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