Who are European ‘data workers’ and where do they work?

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The European Data Market Study Final Report was released a month ago and apart from evaluating the market itself, it also analysed numbers around how many people work with data and in which industries. Let’s take a look.

The Study defines data workers as workers who collect, store, manage and analyze data as their primary activity, or as a relevant part of their activity. Data workers must be proficient with the use of structured and unstructured data, should be able to work with a huge amount of data and familiar with emerging database technologies. They elaborate and visualize structured and unstructured data to support analysis and decision-making processes.

There were 6.1 million data workers in 2016 in Europe. The overall trend between 2014 and 2016 shows a non-stop increase in the number of data workers with a year-on-year growth in 2015 over 2014 of 3.2% and a more solid growth in 2016 over 2015 of 2.6%, which is still over the 0.9% growth rate for employment in the EU expected for 2016, by extrapolating the 2015 trends.

Data workers work in teams with the objective of leveraging data-driven innovation for their companies. Their seniority is high: 41% are professionals and 23% managers, while the rest is split among technicians and clerical support workers. This is because enterprises need data workers to leverage data to make informed decisions and improve business performance, not simply to process numbers of perform uncomplicated calculations.

European data workers are contributing to nearly all industries, but their employment share by industry varies substantially. Four industries — manufacturing, wholesale and retail, professional services, and ICT — represented nearly 62% of data workers in 2016 with no significance differences with the previous years.

In absolute terms, professional services count for 20% of the population of data workers, followed by wholesale and retail with another 18%, and then manufacturing (12%) and information and communication (11%). However, in terms of the share of total employment, ICT and Finance lead, with professional services in the 3rd place. The industries with the lowest concentration of data workers are Construction, Transport and Healthcare.

The Final Report of the European Data Market Study, the Executive Summary in French and English, and the Study Dataset are available HERE.