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Data Science jobs may be recession-resistant; but can they help in cutting costs?

As the global slowdown impacts almost every profession, the big question being asked by everyone is how it will impact future careers in Data Science – the most promising career choice in 2019 as per a LinkedIn survey. According to corporate sources and independent research by consulting firms, cutting costs will be one of the topmost priorities for organizations. Executive leadership will most certainly look to the analytics/data science group for guidance during a recession, because analytics has a proven track record for adding data-driven value.

However, data science groups must demonstrate a clear Return-on-Investment (RoI) on their contribution towards this most important item on the CXO agenda. A report from consulting firm McKinsey cautions: “While investments in analytics are booming, many companies aren’t seeing the ROI they expected. They struggle to move from employing analytics in a few successful use cases to scaling it across the enterprise, embedding it in organizational culture and everyday decision-making.” Groups that have been doing mostly descriptive and predictive analytics will be at risk if they have a small percentage of deployments or have concentrated only on building models.

During recession, when cost cutting and efficiency come increasingly in focus, this should lead to an increased demand for prescriptive analytics. Optimization will be applied to everything from production to logistics to human resource management, and analytically mature organizations should see an upsurge in demand for data science services. The reality is that analytics groups in analytically mature organizations that have succeeded in creating production deployments for their algorithms are safer in a recession.

Data from Burning Glass Technologies’ Labor Insight tool finds that although new US job postings in data science and analytics have declined overall, they currently appear to be declining at a slower rate than most other occupations. And within the finance and insurance industry, new job postings in the analytics and data science space have increased. The picture in India is slightly different according to Deloitte, where there is an increased demand with major companies hiring data science skills, but shortage of talent.

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