Analytics professionals are still in high demand, with the biggest pay increases for key roles and emerging talent, but those in mid-tier roles will need to boost their soft skills to increase salaries, new research has found.
The annual Institute of Analytics Professionals of Australia (IAPA) Skills and Salary Survey reports on the state of the Australian analytics market based the responses of data and analytics professionals in Australia.
Insights include salary levels, technologies used, skill levels and expectations for the future.
IAPA chief executive Jodie Sangster said: “While many more organisations now have an analytics team, it is soft skills like communication, influencing and advocacy that will ensure the business can take action on analytics-driven insights.
“These are the essential skills for analytics professionals in 2018.
“Adding these soft skills to your analytics team is a business imperative for any analytics leader, as it directly impacts the perceived success of analytics across the organisation, and the ability to act on insights.”
Here are some of the other key themes of the survey:
- Expert and entry–level salaries are accelerating: the top 10 per cent report a salary increase of 7 per cent to a median of $235,000, and the bottom 5 per cent report an increase of 9 per cent to $72,000 annually.
- Gender pay gap in analytics is half the Australian average: 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 3 per cent.
- Soft skills will get you the job: 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.
- Team managers and technical experts get top dollar: to earn more, manage a team or uplift your skills in big data technologies or advanced analytical techniques.
- Disruption is common but is disconnecting sectors: AI has arrived, but there’s a disconnect between the readiness of businesses on the vendor side (now) and within industry (still in two to three years).
- Make time to build innovation: time for innovation is the biggest challenge for analytics professionals. If a more disciplined approach to innovation isn’t implemented, analytics teams run the risk of becoming all about servicing business demands, and organisations will struggle to get the competitive advantage that analytics provides.
- Employers now expect at least three soft skills and five technical skills for the median analytics professional salary of $130,000. To increase the value to the organisation, and increase salary, team management skills (including soft skills) or more specialised technical skills are required.
- The survey reported team managers earn a median salary of $163,000 ($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.
To this end, the IAPA has introduced a Business Interaction for Analysts course to help analytics professionals gain and improve their soft skills.
The course provides a career boost for those in data and analytics and covers communication, persuasion, influencing and skills to improve interactions with the rest of the business. IAPA corporate members can undertake the course at discounted member rates.