Top data talent seeks advancement opportunities, work-life balance

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Data scientists and data security pros continue to be in high demand, but if organizations are to be successful in luring these professionals in 2019, they had better focus first on advancement opportunities and work-life balance.

That is the finding of a new study by Modis, a leader in IT and engineering workforce solutions, and General Assembly, a pioneer in education and career transformation. The survey explored the attitudes and beliefs of 1,006 decision makers in technology and engineering on issues pertaining to recruitment and benefits, employer challenges and other trends impacting the current and future workplace.

The Modis study also confirmed the existence of a “talent gap” for key data management, information technology and data security roles. Indeed, even recent Bureau of Labor Statistics found the unemployment rate in IT to be approximately one-half the national average for all jobs.

“When it comes to hiring candidates with the appropriate technical skill sets, 41 percent of decision makers within technology and engineering fields indicated it’s becoming more difficult to find the top talent they need,” according to the Technology and Engineering Workplace Trends survey.

What is new in the most recent survey is the importance that these highly-prized workers are placing on benefits, culture and working conditions beyond compensation.

In last year’s survey, 55 percent of organizations agreed with the statement 'workers expect a salary that aligns with the market average for their role,' compared to 63 percent in 2019, indicating the importance of salary has not changed – but that many employers understand the need for competitive pay in order to secure these specialized workers.

Career advancement opportunities and out-of-the-box benefits have increased in importance, according to respondents.

When asked to rank the most important benefits for attracting and retaining talent, the opportunity to advance narrowly beat out competitive salary and raises. The ability to innovate and create new products, projects or ideas ranked third.

More than half (56 percent) of organizations agreed that workers in their field are more concerned about out-of-the-box benefits than salary. When asked about what benefits were most appealing to their employees or potential employees, 39 percent chose flex-hours, while just 6 percent picked tuition reimbursement.

Flex-hours were the most commonly selected out-of-the-box benefit in both technology and engineering fields, and across generational lines.

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