5 things that really matter to data professionals

by | Feb 21, 2022 | #BrijjtheGap, Data & Insight, Leadership | 0 comments

5 things that really matter to data professionals

by | Feb 21, 2022 | #BrijjtheGap, Data & Insight, Leadership | 0 comments

Brijj’s Emotional Intelligence Report 2022 reveals 5 things that really matter to data professionals. Find out how to improve you data team’s job satisfaction and improve overall organisational performance.

At Brijj we care deeply about data professionals.

Our mission is to close gaps in understanding and collaboration between data teams and their business customers, as well as within data teams themselves, with the goal of meaningful business outcomes and elevating jobs across the industry.

I’ve worked in data and insight for 16 years: from a self-taught data analyst with basic skills in Excel, to leading teams in BI, Analytics and ML. For me, there’s never been a moment when I haven’t loved working in the industry. I enjoyed problem solving, developing new skillsets, dipping my toe into every area of business, and working with inspiring stakeholders. But while I mostly had happy staff working for me, there have been times when working in data hasn’t been as rewarding for others. Despite their efforts, their hard work often wasn’t meeting the expectations of business customers and, therefore, providing value.

We’ve all lived these common frustrations: business customers refusing to follow adopted processes, unrealistic project turnover expectations, having to repeatedly rework due to changing requirements, or insights not translating into real-world business actions meaning wasted efforts.

Yes, I’ve been there too. I’ve lived both the hights and the lows of working in data. That’s why I built Brijj, and that’s what lead us to the release of our first report titled “Emotional Intelligence Report 2022: Data & Insight job satisfaction and its impact on successful data projects.”

Data people spend all day analysing businesses for the greater good of those organisations. I think it’s time we start analysing data people for the greater good of one-another.

The Emotional Intelligence Report 2022 is aimed at contributing to closing the gap between data creators and their business stakeholders, for happier professionals and better business outcomes.

Download our FREE report

Discover what really matters to your data teams and increase the chances of your data project success!

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Discover what really matters to your data teams and increase the chances of your data project success!

Download our FREE report

  • Are data professionals happy in their careers?
  • Do data leaders know what matters to their teams?
  • What are the biggest day-to-day issues data professionals are facing – and do those affect their data project outcomes?
Brijj answers these and many more questions so you can start closing gaps in understanding within your data teams.
Please provide your work email.
You will automatically start receiving Brijj weekly newsletter with Data & Insight news, advice and opinion. Unsubscribe anytime.

Job satisfaction within the Data & Insight industry

We surveyed 120 professionals from a variety of data disciplines. Data Analysis, Insight, Business Intelligence and Data Science were the most common self-declared disciplines. We split the respondents into two groups, those who lead data & insight teams (46%), and those who work in them (54%.)

We wanted to find out how happy data professionals really were in their careers. We wanted to understand what was increasing their job satisfaction and what daily frustrations they were facing. We wanted to see whether data professionals felt valued…so we asked them a lot of questions.

The good news is that 88% of data professionals reported being happy in their choice of career! – 91% of leaders and 84% of staff. That’s pretty good! The most fulfilling parts of work in data are…

people: “The varied stakeholders that you get to work with.” – Head of Data Science

learning: “The depth of understanding you get within the business that you operate.” – Head of Data

variety: “Every day is different.” – Data & Insight Analyst

and business impact: “Providing insights to enable our customers to grow and take their business forward.” – Head of Data and Support Operations

However, percentages were lower for both groups when it came to reporting on current roles, with 66% of leaders and 64% of staff reported high job role satisfaction. There is a difference between being happy with your career in general and being happy in the job you currently have. Many of us, despite being happy with our choice of career, deal with day-to-day frustrations which affect our productivity, efficiency and, ultimately, attitude to work. Overall job satisfaction should be measured by exploring attitudes to both careers and current roles.

Over the years, many studies have linked job satisfaction to increased productivity, higher profits, and loyalty. In fact, employee satisfaction is considered one of the most reliable predictions of long-term positive organisational performance. Employees who feel happy in their careers and roles are significantly more likely to approach their responsibilities and tasks with dedication and enthusiasm.

Knowing what pains and day-to-day issues data teams face allows implementing appropriate solutions to improve efficiency and productivity. Understanding employees’ values, motivations, and factors affecting their satisfaction is essential for higher competitive level and successful organisational performance. So, let’s dive in!

5 things that really matter to data professionals

In our survey, we have asked professionals what factors were keeping them happy in their careers. Here are the 5 most commonly indicated:

1. Work making an impact

To really feel engaged in our work, it is vital to see the impact our work has. That means seeing positive and worthwhile outcomes and results from our efforts. For data professionals, it’s seeing how their projects translate to positive, real-world business change. It’s the actions taken on insights provided.

One of the most common frustrations of working in data is not knowing your projects’ final outcomes, or knowing no action was taken at all. A Senior Data Analyst surveyed for our report said: “A lot of companies have a data/insight team and yet don’t use our recommendations.”

To improve your data & insight team’s work engagement, collect feedback on the quality and utility of their projects as well as on the organisational action, decision and outcomes which resulted from their work.

Tip: Collecting stakeholder feedback is much easier with the use of workflow and collaboration tools. Implement a data project management tool working for both data teams and their stakeholders.

2. Learning opportunities

We all want to achieve our full potential, both outside of and at work. Workplace learning should be a top priority for organisations because it is happening of all times, whether structured or not. People learn and develop skills all the time – from experience, other people, blogs, and videos to name a few. This can serve businesses or break them. That’s why it’s important to ensure organisations take control of and invest in structured training aligned with organisational values, goals, and missions.

Workplace learning and development programs help address weaknesses within your teams, fill performance gaps, increase productivity and increase employee satisfaction.

Tip: Make sure that your learning and development programs align with organisational values and mission and goals.

3. Work-life balance

Work/life balance is more important to data professionals than pay! Not just data professionals, in fact. In the 2021 Randstad Employer Brand Research, an independent survey of 190,000 individuals from 34 different countries, salary did not make the top of the list for the first time in 7 years. Attitudes are shifting globally. For 65% of respondents, work/life balance was voted the top driver when looking for a new employer.

Maintaining work-life balance should be equally important for organisational leadership as it’s an important aspect of a healthy work environment. It helps reduce stress, prevents employee burnout, and leads people to ‘going the extra mile’ for their workplaces.

Tip: Encourage your people to take time off. Holidays aren’t a luxury, they’re a necessity. Various studies have proven time off to improve organisational efficiency.

4. Pay

Tangible factors, like pay matter a lot. It is probably the simplest proxy for the level at which an organisation values a given resource. Nearly every organisation is in control of how much they pay, factoring in the skill level needed, the skill & experience of an individual, and the market in which they operate.

If staff do not feel they are paid adequately based on these factors, then there is a risk they will feel undervalued because, in the most consistent and simplest measure, they are.

Although a healthy proportion of respondents to our survey felt they were being paid fairly, but over 40% of both data leaders and staff felt they were being underpaid for the contribution they made to their organisations. Unsurprisingly, the same group reported lower levels of job satisfaction.

Tip: Regularly review pay rates within Data & Insight to make sure your teams are being paid fairly and feel appreciated.

5. Meaningful purpose

Our research revealed that the amounts of work data professionals do might not have to be a problem but the reason, or the lack of, behind it might be.

‘Why?’ is the question we start asking

consistently from the age of about 3. We, as a species, crave to know our purpose and as, for many of us, professional work occupies most of our waking hours during adulthood, the question applies in the professional environment: why do we do the work we do?

Meaning is found when people find alliance between what they spend time doing and what they value. For data and insight teams precisely, that would be the connection between their data projects and extracted insights and positive, real-world business outcomes.

Tip: Clearly communicate your data-driven business strategy and its outcomes to your stakeholders, especially those responsible for delivering it!

Leaders think versus staff say

There are many more factors affecting data professionals’ career satisfaction, like company culture or advancement opportunities, but the 5 above stood out in our research. By addressing these within your teams and organisations, you should be able to improve of your technical talent’s job satisfaction and, in the long run, improve overall performance of your business.

There’s one thing all leaders should keep in mind – what leadership think matters to their staff does not necessarily mirror the reality. We’ve discovered gaps in understanding within data teams. For example, we found that data leaders seriously underestimate how much ‘work making an impact’ matters to staff. Have a look.

Final Tip: To truly understand what drives YOUR data teams, and what factors affect their happiness, conduct independent research. It’ll help you ensure that the efforts you’re putting in place to increase workplace happiness and productivity are relevant to the realities your people are facing.  



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