BHEF Report Recommends Eight Actions for Closing Data Science and Analytics Skills Gap

Data science and analytics jobs postings to reach 2.7 million in 2020

Washington, D.C. (March 30, 2017) — The Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF), in conjunction with PwC, released a new report that shows a gap between the expectations of educators and the expectations of business executives when it comes to preparing students with the data science and analytics skills. The report, Investing in America’s Data Science and Analytics Talent: The case for action has significant implications for workforce preparedness and the U.S. economy. By 2021, 69 percent of U.S. executives say they will prefer job candidates with data skills, yet only 23 percent of educators believe their graduates will possess these skills.

“The significant skills shortage in data science and analytics has broad implications for foundational data-literacy skills needed by current and future employees. Our research indicates there were 2.35 million documented data science and analytics-related job postings in 2015. This number is projected to grow to 2.72 million by 2020. Additionally, less than five percent of college students take courses in data science and analytics, much less complete a program in the field,” stated BHEF CEO Brian Fitzgerald.

The report recommends the following eight actions for change.

Responding to the supply-demand challenge
1. Clarify demand with signals that motivate educations and job seekers
2. Invest in market-driven programs that link learning with work.

What business needs to change
3. Structure your people plan for the digital economy
4. Modernize training and development for long-term employability

What higher education needs to change
5. Use data science to build multidisciplinary strength
6. Enable all students to become data literate and open more routes to data science
7. Strengthen alignment with societies that drive professional conduct
8. Expand the career pathways that lead to a diverse analytics workforce

According to BHEF CEO Brian Fitzgerald, “Closing the data science and analytics skills gap—and enabling organizations to take full advantage of the value of data—will require considerable expansion of strategic partnerships between business and higher education, as well as investments in new talent-development strategies. BHEF understands the need and helps our members build effective, sustainable partnerships between business and higher education to ensure there are data-enabled graduates that meet employer demand.”

To access the full report, click here.
The research was released today at Crunching the Numbers: An Atlantic Forum on Data Analytics & Tomorrow's Workforce.

About the Business-Higher Education Forum
The Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) is the nation’s oldest membership organization of Fortune 500 CEOs, college and university presidents, and other leaders dedicated to the creation of a highly skilled future workforce. BHEF members collaborate and form strategic partnerships to build new undergraduate pathways; improve alignment between higher education and the workforce; and produce a diverse, highly skilled talent pool to meet demand in emerging fields.