Big Shift in Skills Demand Reflects Impact of Disruptive Technologies

As an analyst following the market, any data point is good, but I have also found that an essential data point is the view of the recruiter. These guys really have to have their finger on the pulse of the market. Periodically, I am fortunate enough to catch up with Carl Vellenoweth of Commoditas Partners and gain his perspective of hiring trends. This week, we caught up once more and what I learned was not just interesting, but resonated with the findings of our disruptive technology study due out shortly.

Carl usually addresses my immediate area of interest – CTRM recruitment trends, but not this time. “Almost every client we deal with has an appetite for digitalization and it’s all married to data,” he told me. This year, he has spent more time recruiting in areas like analytics, quants, data scientists and pointed out that at the high end of the market, he is seeing recruitment of Chief Data Offices (CDO’s) as firms seek to derive and support their strategy from the vast amounts of data they have about the industry and their business. He has also observed a trend to create talent hubs or centers of excellence in and around data so that these skills can be lent out across the business to identify and deploy data-driven solutions. Apparently, this sort of expertise is not exactly easy to find.

In fact, we had been observing the trend to focus on data and data management ourselves seeing it slow down and delay CTRM procurement projects. But Carl also said that much of the problem was that while there was lots of data to analyze, much of it was not in good condition and cleansing was required in order to utilize it. Much of the data was unstructured too and so many were moving data to the cloud to ‘play’ with it, extract more value from it. As a result of all of this, he says that demand for quants is up 50-60%. He went on to say that 80% of major utility and trader clients that have been active in the hiring market since January have had appetite to hire quants or data scientists.

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On blockchain, he hasn’t seen so much demand outside of start-ups and POC consortia. Despite that, start-ups in this area are everywhere. It is bringing with it demands for new programming skills from developers; as may be expected.

On the E/CTRM side, he sees more users going direct to market for support skills in the form of independent consultants and much more activity building or procuring more discrete pieces of functionality and integrating that into the existing ecosystem. Suddenly, the term ecosystem is being used everywhere – Carl included, and he alluded to the issue of API’s and integration which is becoming more important. LNG is another real growth area on the recruitment side he told me and again, optimization and the quant is in demand there too. As he put it, “people are freshening up their ecosystems.”

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