Martin Sorrell: “The Biggest Battleground Is The Control Of Data” (As Demand For Professionals Soars)

Martin Sorrell: “The Biggest Battleground Is The Control Of Data” (As Demand For Professionals Soars)

Think the advertising industry has become obsessed with data, data and more data? Well, all the indicators are it’s only going to get worse, particularly due to the high demand – from all industries, let alone adland – for data scientists and those trained in analytics.

Even industry sage, Sir Martin Sorrell, recently weighed-in on the data debate.

In a podcast with the Online Marketing Rockstars, Sorrell said: “The biggest battleground [in advertising] at present is in the control of data.

“There is a somewhat unfortunate Brexit analogy here. One of the slogans was ‘Take back control’ and that is exactly what many advertisers want to do,” he said before adding that the mantra of his new venture, S4 Capital, was to develop first-party data content and media sales for its clients.

Sorrell added: “When I left WPP, I looked to see in which areas revenue was growing. And those were first-party data, digital content and digital media planning–exactly those areas we are pursuing now.”

Finding the data is not the problem – we’re swimming in it – but it appears finding the people to analyse it and process it is.

New research by the University Of NSW (UNSW) has found “data professionals are riding the big data boom, taking their pick of jobs and writing their own cheques as demand for their skills across government and industry outstrips supply.”

The Institute of Analytics Professionals of Australia (IAPA) 2017 Skills Salary Survey reported that the top 10 per cent of earners of all data analytics professionals reported an average jump of seven per cent to a median salary of $235,000 in 2017. The median salary of team managers and technical specialists was $163,000, while the average salary of an analytics professional was $130,000, well above the average salary of professionals at around $91,000 in May 2018.

LinkedIn this year named data scientist as leading its list of The Most Promising Jobs of 2019.  Data scientist positions “come with high salaries, a significant number of job openings and year-over-year growth, and are more likely to lead to a promotion.” US job openings for data scientists posted year-on-year growth of 56 per cent to 4,000-plus openings, according to LinkedIn.

IBM and jobs analytics firm BurningGlass have predicted that by 2020 the number of positions for data and analytics talent in the United States will increase by 600 per cent. Demand is coming from business, government, healthcare providers and other organisations who need data analytics professionals to extract meaning from and interpret data.

Dr Tracy Wilcox, academic director at UNSW business school, commented: “Similar growth can be predicted for Australia, and as a result of this huge growth, salaries for data scientists and analysts are booming.  The industry is willing to pay top dollar for key roles and emerging data analytics talent. It is clear that these new fields are long-lasting and valuable.”

To meet student demand, UNSW has launched two accelerated online masters degrees – one in data science, the other in analytics.

“By launching these two postgraduate degrees, UNSW is also attempting to cut through the confusion between the roles of a data scientist, which involves very high-level statistical and programming skills, including developing artificial intelligence and machine learning. On the other hand, an analyst uses a broader set of analytical skills and tools to produce evidence-based insights from data,” said Dr Wilcox.


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