Data science jobs, pay zoom amid shifting digital landscape

Updated on Mar 29, 2021 07:23 AM IST

Data science professionals command better salary hikes too both internally and during job changes.

The shortage of skills in data science is evident from how long it takes to find such professionals. (AFP)
The shortage of skills in data science is evident from how long it takes to find such professionals. (AFP)
Livemint | ByAyushman Baruah, Bengaluru

Job opportunities and salaries in data science have boomed in India, as the pandemic-driven digital transformation boosts demand for high-end skills.

Data science professionals with 3-10 years of experience get annual salaries in the 25-65 lakh range, while those with more experience can command pay packages upwards of 1 crore, according to recruitment firm Michael Page’s 2021 India Talent Trends report. Experts with more than 15 years of experience can get paid up to 1.8 crore, it said.

Companies are hiring data science professionals to help capture various types of data and derive meaningful insights from them. This can often be a complex process; hence, employers are willing to offer high salaries to data scientists and data engineers.

“The demand for data science professionals is at an all-time high, and the supply hasn’t been able to catch up, leading to an acute shortage of talent. Firms are willing to pay a premium, along with other benefits and long-term incentives, in order to attract and retain employees—leading to an increase in the overall compensation levels,” said Karan Madhok, associate director, Michael Page India.

The main difference between data engineers and data scientists is one of focus. While data engineers are involved in building the infrastructure and architecture for data generation, data scientists are mainly concerned with performing advanced mathematics and statistical analysis on the collected data.

“Rapid growth and demand in digital transformation and advanced analytics have led to a surge in demand for data science professionals in key technology areas such as artificial intelligence, analytics, internet of things, blockchain and quantum computing,” said Saran Balasundaram, founder and chief executive officer (CEO), Han Digital, a talent consulting company.

“As more and more companies move to the cloud, the need for data science and engineering talent will further increase.”

The shortage of skills in data science is evident from how long it takes to find such professionals.

“The time taken to hire engineers in general is six-to-eight weeks, while the time to hire data scientists is 11-12 weeks. Also, the starting salary for data science professionals is 15-20% higher than other roles in engineering,” said Anshuman Das, cofounder and CEO of talent acquisition company CareerNet.

Data science professionals also command better salary hikes both internally and during job changes.

“When changing jobs, generally people demand 25-30% hike, but data scientists demand a 35-45% hike. The average annual pay hike for them falls between 20-30% compared with 15-20% for the rest of the employees,” Das added.

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