It’s a good time to be an analytics professional in Australia, with the country’s best data analytics professionals earning almost $300,000 a year. Analysts with strong soft skills, in addition to their technical capabilities are in particular demand.

According to the Analytics Professionals of Australia (IAPA) Skills and Salary Survey released today, salaries at both the top end of the scale and for entry-level professionals rose, while the median income remains stable at $130,000.

The top 5 per cent of respondents earn $290,000 a year, while the top 10 per cent report a salary increase of 7 per cent to a median of $235,000. The bottom 5 per cent enjoyed a 9 per cent rise to $72,000 annually.

IAPA Salary Survey 2018
Source: IAPA Salary Survey

Increasingly sophistication

According to an IAPA spokesperson, “With the explosion of data and technological advances of Cloud and Big Data technologies, we have the ability to perform more advanced analytics than ever seen before. Over the past four years, we’ve seen organisations mature in their understanding of the value of analytics and the challenge is now in developing skills to leverage emerging technologies and getting ahead of the curve through innovation.”

Data analysts these days are able to analyse all variants of data available to them. “Traditional structured data is being used to answer questions alongside text, video and audio in enormous volumes and faster than ever before.”

The fifth annual survey of analytics professionals actively employed in Australia is based on 497 responses about the practitioners’ education and experience, employment and seniority, and skills and salary.

The gender balance in analytics’ teams remains one in three, and the pay gap between men and women in 2017 improved slightly to 8 per cent; almost half of the Australian job market pay gap of 15.3 per cent.

The survey found team managers earn a median salary of $163,000, which is $33,000 above the median, and top dollar is paid for more bespoke technical skills like natural language processing, social network analysis and optimisation as well as machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), cloud, big data and text mining.

But it’s not enough to be a technical whizz now, you need to be able to interact with the business and communicate your insights in a way that business can instantly use.

The survey identified a 108 per cent increase in demand for soft skills over last year.

According to the report, a candidate that has a good breadth of soft skills, including communication, presentation and business leadership will be more employable than one with only a range of technical skills.


IAPA Salary Survey 2018
Source: IAPA Salary Survey 2018

“The technology environment is changing so quickly that you’re better served to have someone with the right thought processes and the ability to learn new skills and techniques than a specialist who isn’t  flexible enough to move with changes in the environment,” explains Anna Russell from Polynomial.

Employers now expect at least three soft skills and five technical skills for the median analytics professional salary of $130,000.

Looking ahead and both hard and soft skills are in demand, as business tries to make the most of their analytics team.

Meeting demand

The rapid spike in data science salaries has led to initiatives to try and broaden the capabilities in the industry. Some of those are long-term – such as more Masters level university training. Some is more short term, such as offshoring.

The IAPA spokesperson told Which-50 demand remains strong for analytics skills, however, she denied there was any evidence of a shift offshore (Which-50 believes otherwise).

“We don’t currently have any independent data on the level of offshoring of talent, so it is difficult to report on trends. We are still seeing a range of structures for analytics teams – centralised, decentralised and hybrid – so each organisation is assessing models to suit their business and some of these structures include offshoring. ”

“If we look at it from the level of demand for analytics talent within Australia – our data from the latest Skills and Salary Survey shows the majority of managers are finding it as hard, or harder, to recruit than last year – so demand isn’t reducing within Australia.”

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