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Private equity firms scramble for top data talent

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The world of private equity is seeing a surge in demand for data specialists, according to a report by PER People, a recruitment agency specialising in the private equity sector. This trend presents significant opportunities for contractors, consultants, and those seeking fixed-term contracts in the data field.

The report highlights a growing focus within private equity on building strong data practices. This involves not just leveraging data for investment decisions, but also using it to unlock potential within portfolio companies and improve overall business analysis.

Tech talent shortage: a growing crisis

A survey by recruitment firm Gigged.AI reveals a critical shortage of tech talent, with software development being the hardest hit. A staggering 37% of all respondents reported difficulty filling these roles, and this problem intensifies for larger companies (over 500 employees) where nearly half (48%) face this challenge.

This crisis extends beyond software development, with significant skills deficits also found in cybersecurity (37%) and digital marketing (36%). This highlights the widespread nature of the issue across various IT positions. Data science and data engineering are poised to become even more in-demand in 2024, as companies increasingly require expertise for new AI projects.

The situation has worsened since 2023, with over half (57%) of respondents believing the tech talent shortage has grown. This figure jumps to a stark 74% among companies already facing significant shortages. Only a small minority (20%) feel these challenges have eased recently, with a slightly higher prevalence (32%) in sectors like government and healthcare.

In short, the tech talent shortage is a growing problem impacting a wide range of IT roles. Companies, especially larger ones, are struggling to find qualified candidates, and the demand for data expertise is expected to rise further in 2024.

Small or big? New or established?

While large private equity firms may already have established data teams, there’s a clear shift towards smaller and newer firms seeking data specialists to lead analysis and implement new data systems.

The report suggests that private equity firms are looking for candidates with a strong quantitative background, particularly those with degrees in computer science or data engineering. Experience with various coding languages and the ability to analyse and interpret complex data are also highly sought after.

However, the report emphasises that it’s not all about numbers. Data professionals in private equity also need excellent communication skills to translate complex data insights into actionable information for different teams across the business. The ability to build strong working relationships is crucial for success in these roles.

If you’re a data professional looking for a challenging and impactful role, then private equity firms are increasingly turning to contractors and consultants to fill this growing demand. With the right skill set and experience, you could be in high demand for these fixed-term opportunities.

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