data scientist's salary


Is the United States graduating too many data scientists with computer science, statistics or business analytics degrees? Will this “glut” affect a data scientist’s salary in 2021 and 2022?

History did an analysis of the rise and fall and rise again of the data scientist’s salary since 2015. In June 2015 the data scientist’s salary grew by 6.25% to a median of $98,798. This author attributed that rise to the solidifying of the data scientist role and more companies adding the role.

In June 2016 there was negative cumulative growth of 1.7% and a year-to-year fall of 7.5% to a median salary of $88,649. If a company already has a data scientist their next need is typically for a junior position to assist in data management and to be trained by the senior already on staff. It could also be the demographic expansion of this role to lower-cost-of-living areas of the country, outside of the tech centers in San Francisco, New York City and Boston.

In June of 2020 cumulative growth exploded by 10.5%. There may be a pandemic effect of companies wanting to retain their hard-to-hire data scientists during a difficult time, but clearly companies are still very interested in having a data scientist or more than one on staff.

Growing Salaries

Average salaries for data and other technologists were $97,859 in 2020, a 3.6% increase over 2019 according to a study of 9,143 Dice job board users and visitors. Increases at the main tech hubs of Silicon Valley, up 2.4% to $126K, New York City, up 11.6% to $114K, and Boston, up 2.4% or $111K, aren’t a surprise. What is interesting is the softness of the Seattle market where salaries went down 2.6% or $107K and the continuing growth of Texas as a competitor to Silicon Valley. Austin salaries were up 9.7% or $104K, Houston up 7.1% or $99K and yet a third Texas city of Dallas-Ft. Worth was up 2.9% or $97K. One more geographic player state with two entries in the top fifteen is North Carolina with Charlotte up 13.8% to $99K and Raleigh at an increase of 2.5% or $98K.

In the top ten technology salaries a data scientist’s salary rose the most at a 12.8% increase or $120K. The only bigger increase in a technology role was #16 Cybersecurity Analyst that was up 16.3% or $103K. Data Scientist roles are expected to grow in the next 10 years by 19% and Data Engineers will grow 11.5% in the same time period.

Staple Benefits

Before the pandemic there was ongoing conversations about companies that built fitness centers in the corporate offices, who provided the widest and best variety of workplace snacks and handed-out paid volunteer opportunities. After living through the first year of the pandemic benefits that are considered “staple” or standard have risen to the top of technologists preferences.

Health Insurance is important to 80% of respondents, 41% chose paid vacation days, 24% for 401(k) matching/pension, 16% chose remote schedule options and 9% found dental insurance important. Each respondent could pick two benefits. What do technologists currently have as benefits? There is a 4% gap between those that consider health insurance important and what they currently have. Paid vacation days has a 10% gap and 401(k) matching/pension has a 15% gap. Paid vacation, paid sick days and remote schedule options all have gaps of 10% between what hard-to-hire people want and what they currently have.

Smith Hanley Data Science and Analytics Recruiter, Nancy Darian, says “I’m seeing data scientist salaries holding steady, but it really depends on the industry. Later in 2021 data science roles in hospitality and travel will come back at about the same pay structure as they were before the pandemic. Consulting companies will compete for top talent and salaries there should increase. Some retail and CPG companies that have seen growth during the pandemic will also see salaries rise. Overall, employers are looking for high value candidates – those who demonstrate business knowledge and results in their resumes – not just those who list the right skills.”

Contact Nancy at [email protected] for all your recruiting needs.

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