ADLIB’s regular research on the key information when it comes to finding and retaining employees is back with a focus on Data, Insight and Analytics. You can view the comprehensive guide here – and if you want to chat further about the talent market, challenges in hiring, salary benchmarking or to work with the team to help support the growth of your data functions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Alex Cosgrove, Head of Data, Insight & Analytics at

The importance of Data, Insight and Analytics

Data is becoming more and more important to businesses, the move to becoming data driven is continuing at pace. 64% of data professionals feel their teams will grow this year, with only 21% of teams shrinking. This shows the continued appetite for data professionals by businesses of all sizes.

With the catalyst of COVID & lockdowns for digital transformation, businesses are, more than ever, looking to their data to make strategic decisions. Strong data underpins digital transformation programmes and this has become a major driver for investment in data teams across the commercial world.

The rise of the CDO role is also pushing forward data agendas and highlighting areas of need across businesses at the C-level, putting data on a par with marketing, technology & finance as key pillars for businesses. This has driven the growth of data teams, consultancies and agencies across industries as more and more businesses seek to build cloud-based data infrastructure to take advantage of all the benefits this brings.

Data monetisation is another driver of growth, with more and more businesses understanding that their data can be an asset and when anonymised, can be sold to other businesses to support their growth.

As more and more businesses improve their data infrastructure, and therefore access to data, they’re realising they have data quality & governance issues preventing them from getting value from this data. This has led to an increased demand for data governance, management & quality professionals across the UK to ensure that the investment businesses are making in data teams can be taken advantage of. With better data available to companies, there is an ever-increasing demand for data employees across the board, especially in the data science & engineering spaces.

Remote working has increased in prevalence exponentially in the past 2 years, which has massively opened up the candidate pool for London based businesses. With the connectivity of London to most major cities, the drive for candidates to take remote London roles with occasional travel to the office (i.e. once per month) for a 20% increase in salary has risen significantly. Whilst this is a benefit to the companies that offer this, it has become an issue for companies who have a more rigid approach to remote working and has left them at a disadvantage when it comes to retaining and bringing in data talent.

The market has become ultra-competitive here in the South West with remote London roles becoming more and more common, candidates now have the choice to take higher salaries in place of working in local businesses.

Key findings

Team Growth

Data and insight teams tend to have not seen any shrinking in 2021 – with 79% stating that this was the case – the majority of respondents stated that their team had grown by 1- 5 people since they joined. Optimism for growth ahead is looking encouraging with 64% of respondents either 100% sure or pretty sure that their team is set to grow over the coming 12 months. Specifically, 36% of respondents are ‘certain’ (100% optimistic). 28% are ‘pretty sure’ (80% optimistic). 20% are ‘not sure (might or might not, 50% optimistic). 14% are thinking ‘probably not’ (25% optimistic). 1% are ‘definite’ about the fact that ‘no team growth is ahead’.

“How long have you been in your current role for?”

The results show that there has been a lot of hiring in this space and that the job market remains buoyant. 81% of the data professionals surveyed changed roles within the past 3 years. The most common reason cited for leaving a role was for an increase in salary, with 78% of respondants claiming this would be the biggest factor in their decision to move on.

Ket factors in retaining talent

ADLIB asked “In your opinion, what are the most important factors in retaining talent within your team?” Employees were asked to select all areas which they considered important to them. The 10 most important factors in retaining talent within data and analytics teams were named as:

Whilst salary ranks highly when looking at what is important, it’s telling that it isn’t the highest. From the data here and from what we see on the market, feeling valued, career progression and learning new skills are the most important things to keep your data professionals happy. Close to the top 3 is also remote / flexible working practices. From working with a wide range of data professionals, we find that most want to work from home at least 2 days per week so they can get stuck into their analysis or development work.

Impact of COVID-19

Post-pandemic working patterns have shown an increase in remote working with the survey results showing 76% of respondents working remotely 4-5 days a week with 63% of those spending 5 days remote. 13% currently work 4 days a week remotely with 9% on 3 days, 7% on 2 days and another 7% 0-1 days per week. A follow up question was asked that ‘in an ideal world, how many days would you want to work remotely per week?’. The response was that 32% preferred 5 days per week but 33% would rather only be remote working 4 days a week. Although the reality is that the majority of data professionals are currently working remotely 5 days a week, there is a noticeable preference to reduce that to 4 days. As much as 17% would also ideally only work remotely 3 days a week with 11% wanting 2 days and 7% 0-1 day per week. We then asked “How do you think your business has handled moving to full remote working during the pandemic?”. Our results show respondents tend to feel that their business has handled the shift to remote working in a largely positive manner with 41% saying it was handled ‘excellently’ and 38% thinking it was handled ‘well’. Only 17% responded ‘somewhat well’ and even less answered ‘badly’ (4%). When asked to provide thoughts on ‘what could they have done better?’ the consensus was that communication and technical issues were the things that could have been handled better.

In summary

With the data talent market being as competitive as it has ever been, more and more companies are investing in data technology professionals, the demand for hiring has outpaced supply significantly. The impacts of both Brexit and “The Great Resignation” have put constraints on the number of available candidates in this space. To combat this, staff retention must play a large role in maintaining growth of these teams. First and foremost, ensuring that key data staff feel valued, have clear development opportunities through new skills or increased responsibilities is key. Understanding how your staff want to work and giving them the freedom to work remotely as much as they want to, can have a huge impact on whether they stay or move on.

To see the full report, check out ADLIB’s Data, Insight and Analytics Employment Guide here.