Data scientists top UK CEO recruitment wishlist, claims new survey

BY Fraser Tennant

Illustrating their increasing role in supporting future business growth, data scientists have been named the most important workforce capability by UK chief executives, according to a new survey by KPMG.

In its ‘Growing pains: 2018 Global CEO Outlook’ report, KPMG states that more than two thirds of survey respondents (69 percent) named the data scientist role as important in supporting future growth plans, followed by emerging markets experts (57 percent) and emerging technology specialists (55 percent ), such as artificial intelligence professionals.

The KPMG analysis also suggests that firms should focus on the impact of technological disruption as well as considering business opportunities beyond domestic markets.

“UK CEOs are encouragingly bullish on their resourcing requirements and evidently more so than their counterparts elsewhere in the world,” said Mark Williamson, partner and head of the people consulting practice at KPMG in the UK. “This sends a powerful message to the world that UK business leaders can see past market uncertainty and are focused on future-proofing their operations.”

In order to respond to technological disruption, the report also notes that UK businesses need to treat technology disruption as part of an integral part of business strategy, and respond by looking at ways in which their workforce can change its size, shape and composition to meet the strategic demands of the next decade.

“Fundamentally, the nature of digital disruption is potentially transformative if approached with the right mindset,” continued Mr Williamson. “Technology disruption is becoming such an integral part of business strategy that we expect business leaders to increasingly establish their own training programmes and invest in external support.”

The KPMG report showcases the views of 150 UK leaders and a further 1150 chief executives across the globe.

Mr Williamson concluded: “UK business leaders are embracing digital disruption and are confident in the potential for automation to create jobs in the near future. The rise of the data scientist is clear evidence of this sentiment and shift in priorities within UK boardrooms.”

Report: ‘Growing pains: 2018 Global CEO Outlook’

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