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Data science job openings drop in non-IT segment, BFSI lends a helping hand: Report

The open jobs for analytics and data science in domestic non-IT firms dropped by 20% this year over the previous year, according to a report by Great Learning.

The banking and financial services sector saw the most demand for these roles, said the Great Learning’s 2023 job study of analytics/data science professionals in India across cities, job functions and years of experience based on AIM Research daily job tracker. AIM research also included information from relevant public domain.

The report said that job demand peaked in 2022, quoting from a survey by the Analytics India Magazine that included factors ranging from over-hiring during the pandemic and response to market conditions. On a positive note, it highlighted a trend since 2023 towards stabilisation, influenced by strategic decisions among companies.

With the banking and financial services sector adopting new tools in machine learning and AI across risk management, fraud management, customer understanding and more, it comprised 36% of the jobs in data science in India, according to the data. The next highest in terms of demand was IT/KPO/BPO at 18%, followed by ecommerce/internet sector firms at 12%.

Data science jobs by sectors

This is a reversal in trend as the IT industry is historically the major employer for data specialists. The drop in open positions in the sector could be due to the overall recessionary cycles.

Pharma, retail & consumer packaged goods (CPG) also saw open positions in data science. While the requirements vary from marketing campaign optimisation to cost efficiency using data, there could be more opportunities for trained professionals in these sectors as data gets leveraged more for decision making.

The report also did an assessment of the kind of companies where these roles are open and how that has shifted over time. While MNC IT and KPO firms comprised the largest share in 2021, that share has dropped over time. Domestic non-IT firms saw a 20% increase in open roles in analytics over this time period. This could also highlight the recent innovations and startup movements in sectors like healthcare, climate and manufacturing, where data could become a key differentiator. Global captive centres, according to the data, comprised 2% of the roles in 2023, domestic IT and KPO firms comprised 13% and consulting firms comprised 4% of the roles.

In terms of years of experience, the study said companies prefer to hire mid-career professionals as they are more apt to be trained in the new technologies and methodologies and hence likely to possess the right skill sets. Those with experience of between 2-5 years and 5-7 years accounted for 59% of the share of hiring.

The report quoted a recent Analytics India Magazine study that professionals with 2-5 years of experience are seeing a strong demand, specially those with expertise in machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing. Businesses also focus on upskilling and retaining their hired professionals, which makes this segment an important segment for them.

Interestingly, freelance data scientists are also becoming a more common occurrence, specially among startups and smaller firms. The share of analytics and data science jobs by nature of work showed a 23% contribution by freelancers, along with 8% part-time and 1% by contract talent.

Nature of jobs breakdown

In terms of location of work, while 71% said onsite was the preferred location, about 21% went in for hybrid and 8% work-from-home as the option.

The big cities contributed to the most jobs — Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata ruled this list.

In terms of educational background, the data showed a decline in engineering graduate hires and an increase in MBA hires and other postgraduate discipline hires. Natural language processing, data architects and AI/ML engineers saw the highest jump in job positions from 2022 to 2023.