In late October, the analyst Gartner forecast that the advent of “big data” would necessitate the creation of 4.4 million IT jobs worldwide, of which 1.9 million would be in the United States.
“In addition, every big data-related role in the U.S. will create employment for three people outside of IT, so over the next four years a total of 6 million jobs in the U.S. will be generated by the information economy,” said Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of research.
But Sondergaard sounded an alarm.
“There is not enough talent in the industry,” he said. “Our public and private education systems are failing us. Therefore, only one-third of the IT jobs will be filled. Data experts will be a scarce, valuable commodity.”
This wild growth in big data, and the jobs associated with it, will have an indelible impact on the supply chain. The generation of copious amounts of information from fast, sleek new supply chain software systems leads to an inevitable problem — how does one sort through the chaff to get to the wheat?
In some cases, additional internal systems will be required to collate the really important data so that it feeds back into decision-making processes, like managing spend on a particular lane, or deciding whether a shipment should go by ocean or air transport. These data management elements will require more staff, particularly at the outset.
In other cases, this will be outsourced to a managed services provider, but then that provider will need to amp up its own staff to handle the big data its customers are generating. 3PLs and 4PLs have increasingly become technology-driven assisters to the supply chain, but even they need people to manage all these reams of data.
So while American Shipper
benchmark research has found that supply chain staffing has never really returned to pre-recession levels, there is a potential silver lining. Investment in new systems inevitably means more data, which, according to Gartner, translates to new jobs. — Eric Johnson