Data Analysts In Australia Are Well Paid But Under-Utilised

Australian data analytics professionals are making a mint with an annual median salary of $130,000. For those with big data and cloud analytics skills, that figure could be as high as $200,000. But according to a recent survey, most companies that hire data analytics workers are not getting the bang for their buck.

Breakdown of different categories of data analytics professionals.

For its 2015 Skills and Salary Survey Report, the Institute of Analytics Professionals of Australia (IAPA) surveyed 449 data analysts in a variety of industries across the country. It found the annual median salary for data analysts is $130,000, up four per cent from last year, despite an influx of low-experience and junior employees entering the industry.

Considering the average full-time salary for Australians is around $70,000 (based on figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics), data analysts are certainly being paid a handsome figure. The image at the top of this article breaks down the different types of data analytics professionals that make up the industry, as categorised by IAPA, and their median salary.

In recent years there has been a lot of emphasis on deriving business insights from new and existing data so it’s no surprise that demand for data analysts have increased, which drives up salary. Unfortunately, businesses that do have a data analyst at their disposal aren’t using them to their full potential.

While 81 per cent of respondents for the IAPA’s survey believed analytics plays a part in their organisation’s ability to innovate and differentiate, nearly half of the analysts (47 per cent) noted that lack of understanding of data and analytics at the executive level is a key barrier to them applying their skills.

In fact, 37 per cent of respondents admitted their companies are not getting the full benefits of their data analytics skills. What’s more concerning is 38 per cent said they had difficulty convincing their organisations of the value of analytics, so they are unable to act on the insights.

Other challenges dampening the effectiveness of data analysts include the need to develop skills in new areas (46 per cent), having timely access to high quality data (39 per cent) and finding out best practices in their field (31 per cent).

What organisations need are data analysts who are able to take up leadership roles so they can advocate the value of data analytics to businesses. This is something the IAPA highlighted, along with the importance for data analytics professionals to acquire new skills, in their report findings:

“Clearly the industry has talented, educated professionals and analysts are seeing the value of up-skilling. But the industry is saying they still need more — in particular those who can step into leadership roles — those with multifaceted skills. This creates a massive opportunity for analytics professionals who can gain these skills to differentiate their capabilities.

Analysts that have skills in cloud and big data are being paid the most. Some of the professionals surveyed who do possess those skills had salaries of around $200,000.

“Becoming analytics-savvy is just a first step, for business to thrive there needs to be a data-led culture and process embedded into business-as-usual — we will be encouraging this kind of ecosystem thinking during, and beyond, 2016,” the IAPA said.

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