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Data Scientist Shortage Increases Demand for Contractors

Unable to find data scientists, companies are leaving full-time employee positions unfilled and bridging the gap with contractors.x

This marketplace imbalance has created an interesting dynamic. Data science contractors are now in higher demand as full-time job openings remain open for months and months. Why the imbalance?

InformationWeek reported that most employers have a fundamental misconception about the marketplace. Many employers seek to fill data science openings that combine skills and experience that don’t exist in the marketplace.

Employers want a data science pro who, for example, is an expert coder in Python, R, and SAS, and who also is an experienced business professional possessing a deep understanding of a particular business domain – such as finance. Employers seem unwilling to change the job description to fit what is out there in the market.

Full-time jobs remain open for six months or longer, putting pressure on the internal teams to get the work done without that unicorn worker. Employers frequently turn to contract help, which comes with another set of challenges.

On the one hand, more and more people go independent, preferring a better work/life balance leading to more remote work. Employers will tolerate remote workers more often as contractors but still prefer those who can work in-house. InformationWeek reported that with few exceptions, companies continue to recruit data scientists to work in-house.