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Business Intelligence Market Overview - October 2016

Demand for Business Intelligence professionals is booming, but there is a shortage of skilled, experienced candidates. Why is this skill set so desirable, and what can companies do to attract top talent? Our market specialist, Shaun Connor delves into the data driven world of BI...

What is Business Intelligence?

We all know that ‘knowledge is power’. In business, if you don’t have mastery over your data then you are at a competitive disadvantage, unable to scrutinise what works and what doesn’t, where you can make efficiencies and where the biggest opportunities lie for growth.

It is the job of Business Intelligence professionals to take the mass of data produced by a business and process it into something usable; insights, graphs and statistics that drive development and empower management to make informed decisions.

A recent KPMG survey found that CEOs believe the biggest challenges facing them are customer loyalty (86% worry about this); new entrants disrupting business models (74%) and keeping up-to-date with new technologies (72%). Business Intelligence helps management stay on top of all these trends and more.

Business Intelligence is not only popular with large companies who have the resource to invest in in-depth analysis. Many smaller firms are also embracing the technology, finding that being data-driven makes them nimble and responsive to customer needs.

Rullion Business Intelligence

What are the most in-demand skills?

According to research by LinkedIn, Business Intelligence was in the top 25 most-wanted skills in 2015, based on hiring and recruiting activity compared with user profiles. Associated skills such as cloud and distributed computing and statistical analysis and data mining were most in-demand.

Most Business Intelligence work is based on Microsoft SQL Server, an enterprise database platform which can be applied to businesses of all sectors and sizes. Other products and plug-ins are also popular, such as Power View, PowerPivot and GeoFlow. Developers with experience of using these products to process data are much in-demand.

Some candidates will have a relevant qualification such as a degree in Maths or Computer Science, while others work their way up through support roles to gain the necessary skills. Candidates must be enthusiastic about data-driven work and have excellent numeric skills.

How can businesses attract candidates?

Business Intelligence is a field where demand outstrips supply, meaning that candidates can afford to be choosy in picking jobs. Remuneration is an important consideration for workers in this area; graduate salaries are usually around £25,000 per annum, rising to £35,000-40,000 for mid-level employees and £45,000-£65,000 for senior developers.

However, money is not the be-all and end-all for workers in Business Intelligence. Candidates are usually deeply committed to technological development and want opportunities to gain skills in crucial growth areas for the future. They look for companies using tech in a way that interests them and where they can develop marketable skills.

Autonomy is also a key factor in attracting candidates to an organisation. Some workers will look for opportunities to work independently and build projects from the ground up, typically those in the more mature stages of their career; others prefer to work under the guidance of a colleague in a pre-established system.

To contract or not to contract?

Business Intelligence is an area where workers tend to move from job to job fairly frequently; moving to a new role within around two years with one company is not unusual. This means businesses must do all they can to retain talent, providing incentives such as competitive remuneration and good working conditions.

Some professionals opt to work as contractors rather than permanent employees. There are advantages and disadvantages to this and most workers move between the different roles within their career. For example, freelancing might suit some employees who want to travel between roles, whereas those with caring commitments or mortgages prefer the security of a monthly payslip.

The advantages of permanent roles

A contractor might earn around 30% more than an employed worker, but they also have poorer job security and lack benefits such as pension rights, paid sick leave and private healthcare.

Permanent employees tend to have more opportunities for career development because their employers have an interest in their progression. Whereas contractors are hired for a specific role based on their existing skill set, employees often train in new areas or are taught new skills by more senior colleagues, which broadens their skill base and provides additional job satisfaction.

A sector set for continued growth

Business Intelligence is now an essential part of most businesses, determining strategic direction as well as day-to-day operations. With the growth of cloud computing, consumer applications and the trend towards big data, this area of software development is set to flourish in the coming years.

Rullion is committed to matching qualified candidates to the right roles, ensuring placements that work well for both worker and employer. By visiting clients to learn more about the working environment on offer and the nature of the position, we can answer candidates’ detailed questions and generate enthusiasm about the position available.

Do you need help finding qualified Business Intelligence candidates? Why not talk to Rullion today to see how we could help?

Shaun Connor, Senior Consultant, Business Intelligence (

0161 601 3318