Data-first culture is now a recruitment deal-breaker

It's now more important than ever to demonstrate your organization is equipped to act on data.
5 February 2020

Bargaining power is now split on the hiring table. Source: Shutterstock

It’s not news that digital skills are high up the priority list among recruiters today — businesses need the expertise to drive forward lofty ambitions, whether that’s data scientists, CAD designers, or web developers.

Today, though, these specialists have bargaining power. While a fat pay-packet might get candidates through the door, getting them to stick around for the long-haul poses a greater challenge. Increasingly, employees want to know they’re working for progressive organizations on the bleeding edge — those that are heading in the right direction and making their mark in an evermore competitive landscape.

Businesses, and their leaders, are under more pressure than ever to leverage the data in their hands. Being able to effectively and efficiently act on this surplus of hard information — whether it relates to user-product interactions, IoT-enabled logistics data, or market intelligence — puts organizations at a huge competitive lead, though it remains a challenge for the majority.

Prospective employees now know this. In fact, new research shows that the perception of how a company acts on and makes the data it has available to employees is a key consideration for tech-savvy recruits.

Tableau Software conducted a survey that revealed 50 percent of UK knowledge workers — those whose job involves handling or using information — would reject an offer if the company shows no signs of using data in decision making, and no desire to instill a culture of that among its workforce. 

“For a growing number of UK employees, data has become a recruitment deal-breaker. Our findings reflect a sincere desire among knowledge workers to join organizations that value the ability to access and analyze data, and who encourage their staff to become more data fluent,” said James Eiloart, Senior Vice President EMEA, Tableau.

A majority of respondents (84 percent) agreed that employers offering digital and data analytics skills training are more attractive. This is highly desirable, particularly for candidates above 55 years old. 

For nine out of 10 workers, a company’s future success is tied to the improvement of workforce skills. Here, 80 percent of C-suite respondents said that learning and development (L&D) programs are essential to drive success. 

Even so, close to 40 percent of employers haven’t conducted training in the last year. 

Findings suggest that digital transformation initiatives must go far beyond investing in new technology. Instead, organizations must reposition in a way that attracts desirable, data-conscious talent that will drive ongoing transformation projects forward — such as facilitating training, making information available and demonstrating the organizational ability to act on data quickly.

The digital jobs market is increasingly becoming one in which job seekers look for forward-thinking, ambitious organizations that provide opportunities to upgrade and enhance their digital skills. At the same time, organizations are seeking candidates with the right skill sets to accelerate digitization. 

Organizations that think they still hold the power at the hiring table will be left with a widening skills gap. Instead, HR departments must communicate the need for training programs and business-wide transparency within their wider organizations.

This will be vital to foster an environment where talented employees want to spend their working days. Nobody wants to work for a company that’s ready to become irrelevant.