5 minute read time
February 9, 2021

Tech. Skills. Now. is a series of brief pieces by CBRE Labor Analytics meant to spark a conversation about hiring and location trends for today’s most sought after technology skills. In Volume 5 of the series we explore Data Analytics.

As with all volumes of the Tech.Skills.Now series, this piece aims to communicate how companies can leverage geography to gain competitive advantage when hiring for these highly sought-after tech skills sets. In addition to highlighting where this talent resides today, this piece also identifies fast-growing emerging locations in the United States where employers stand the best chance of establishing themselves as an “employer of choice” where they can access the market’s top talent.


About Data Analytics:

Data Analytics (also referred to as Data Sciences) is the process of examining raw datasets to form conclusions about the information contained therein. These techniques enable patterns to be uncovered from raw data in order to form valuable insights. These processes are increasingly automated with the aid of specialized systems and algorithms.

Figure 1: National Indicators
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The supply of Data Analytics talent is exploding in the United States in response to unprecedented demand for these skills from employers representing a wide range of industries. Over the last year, there was a 123% annual growth rate in people self-reporting this skill set. The incredibly rapid growth of this skill set is also responsible for an above average turnover rate as demand outpaces the talent supply in many markets. Over the past 12 months, there was a 37% turnover rate for professionals with Data Analytics skills. For comparison, the turnover rate for all Software Developers during this same period was 28%.

While traditional sub-sectors within tech such as Information Technology and Computer Software are among the areas of the economy employing the greatest number of employees with this skill set, other less traditional sectors such as Healthcare and Financial Services are also among the top five industry sectors currently employing Data Analytics talent. An analysis of the fastest growing industries also suggests that the demand for this skill set is becoming more ubiquitous across the broader economy. Non-profits, education, and law enforcement are a few of the sectors that have seen the fastest growth in their pool of Data Analytics employees over the past year.

Which industries currently employ these skills?

Figure 2: Total Professionals with Data Analytics Skills
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Which industries have the fastest-growing demand?

Figure 3: Percent Change in Professionals with Data Analytics Skills, Top 100 Industries (Last 12 Months)
Figure 3

Where are the top talent markets today?

  • Professionals with Data Analytics skills tend to cluster in the largest and most economically dynamic US markets
  • Since this skill set is more dispersed across a wider range of industries than other skill sets that are highly concentrated in tech, major tech centers like SF and Seattle are not at the top of the list for total professionals
  • The largest portion of NY’s skills cluster is in Financial Services while in the SF Bay Area Software and other tech-related sectors comprise most of the talent trained in Data Analytics. Metro DC’s talent pool is driven largely by the federal government and various contractors

Figure 4: Total Professionals With Data Analytics Skills
Figure 4

Where's the fastest growth?

  • None of today’s Top 10 markets for Data Analytics skills (shown in Figure 4) are also on the Top 10 growth list
  • The markets with the fastest growth rates represent a geographically and economically diverse set of small to medium-sized metro areas – many tend to have above average educational attainment and lower cost profiles
  • Several of the fastest growing markets also tend to be home to a major research university which may be creating the pipeline of talent trained in Data Analytics (e.g., College Station, Champaign-Urbana, Syracuse, Tucson, etc.)

Figure 5: Annual Change in Professionals with Data Analytics Skills, Top 100 Markets
Figure 5

Where is the talent coming from?

Most of the top universities producing recent graduates with Data Analytics skills are co-located with the largest existing skills clusters – Bay Area, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, NY, etc.

The strong pipeline of new talent being created at schools such as ASU in Phoenix and UT-Dallas suggest that these markets may have the ability to capture more native talent coming out of local universities to further expand their local Data Analytics skills clusters.

Figure 6: Top 10 Schools by Total Recent Graduates (2016-19)
Figure 6

Where is the talent going?

Net migration trends for professionals with Data Analytics skills suggest that some markets may be having success recapturing alumni from their regional universities as more job opportunities become available outside of traditional major markets.

Several of the top five markets for in-migration of talent were smaller northeastern markets that are regional hubs for education and/or finance (e.g., Rochester, Hartford, Pittsburgh).

The highest cost western markets such as San Francisco, Seattle, and Los Angeles saw the greatest out-migration of talent perhaps as a reaction to high cost of living in these markets and a greater number of job opportunities now available in emerging markets in other parts of the country.

Figure 7: Net Migration Trends (Last 12 Months)
Figure 7

Where are the strongest hiring opportunities?

The supply-demand relationship for Data Analytics talent is employee-favorable across the US – suggesting a high demand for this skill set. Hiring opportunity as measured by the proportion of qualified Data Analytics talent (supply) to active job postings (demand) reveals a variety of market types where employers may have the strongest opportunities to attract and retain talent.

Major metro markets that are also emerging tech centers such as Atlanta, Miami, and Houston are among the top performers on this metric and could represent among the best opportunities for companies seeking to hire Data Analytics talent at scale.

Smaller highly educated markets anchored by a major research university, including Champaign-Urbana, College Station, and Fayetteville present opportunities to find and attract smaller pools of specialized talent with limited competitive risk and the greatest “employer of choice” potential.

For comparison, the ratio of qualified professional per job posting in the US overall is 7:1, the most saturated markets are as follows::

  • DC – 2:1
  • San Diego – 3:1
  • Seattle – 4:1

Figure 8: Top 10 Markets Based on Qualified Candidates per Active Job Posting
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How does gender representation vary?

The gender gap for Data Analytics skills can vary widely across markets ranging from 50% in Salt Lake City, UT (75% men vs. 25% women) to 20% in Jacksonville, FL (60% men vs. 40% women). San Francisco and the Bay Area overall regularly score among the top markets for gender representation across a wide range of tech skills, including Data Analytics.

Figure 9: Smallest and Largest Gender Gap for Professionals with Data Analytics Skills (2020)
Figure 9

Have an idea about what skills we should explore next? Let us know.