Data Driving UK Growth

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By Thomas Green – Partner, London –

In many respects the technology sector in London has bucked the ‘post-Lehman’ trend in terms of its resilience: it’s estimated that almost a third of total job gains in the Capital since 2009 have been created in the ‘tech sector’. Whilst there is a myriad of contributory factors, including legislation, one theme exists across all sectors and companies, from seed-backed pre-revenue firms, through to the FTSE100. That theme is Data Analytics, in its various shapes and forms.

In the London Office of Calibre One we are witnessing a demand for skills in this area across all of our traditional client base including:

– In the ad-tech space (DSP’s, DMP’s etc.), CTO’s able to manage software development teams to build data analytics capability along with CRO’s able to build teams to sell the offering

– The traditional IT consultancies building out their digital practices with Consultants and Data Scientists, with particular demand across the retail, FMCG and energy verticals

– Advertising ‘holding companies’, strengthening their own data analytics offerings, across agencies, often at Chief Data Officer level, typically with media industry backgrounds

– In the mobile and communications space a demand for Chief Architects and Program Directors with extensive Data Mining experience (Hadoop framework etc.)

Demand Drives Salary

With the general upturn in the UK economy, the increase in digital IPO activity (JustEat, BooHoo, Zoopla, AO World, 7Digital etc. in 2014, so far…) and the increase in PE/VC deals in the space, the price for individuals with these skills has accordingly increased. Indeed, the market for analytics professionals has been compared to that for computer programming in the 1990’s.

The difficulty lies in identifying genuine talent as opposed to those who have ‘re-badged’ themselves and navigating salary negotiations with some savvy tactics. Not only that, but our clients in the tech space are competing with all sectors of the economy for this talent: Government, Financial Services, Healthcare etc.

In a market such as this there can be a tendency for companies to assume they are ‘behind the curve’ in terms of capability, particularly versus that of their competition. This perception can, in turn, drive up the price a company is willing to pay to ‘solve the problem’, by hiring the talent they believe they require. During the course of a search we are not only able to identify, engage and help hire the right talent for our clients, but we are also able to demonstrate ‘what good looks like’ and how much it costs, in terms of benchmarking the competitive landscape.

As is the case with the ‘90’s boom in demand for programmers, supply will eventually catch up with demand. Until then, a cautious and considered approach to the market can pay dividends in terms of avoiding a ‘panic buy’. After all, many of the skills we are talking about in terms of data analytics are not as new as some would have you believe.