Leveraging Data Science to Power the Future of Work

Depending on who you talk to, the future of work can be exciting or daunting—or both. What cannot be denied is that tomorrow’s work landscape will look much different from yesterday’s. As the pace of Data Science innovation increases by the second, evolving the economy in tandem, we need to keep people at the heart of every business.

As a global business with a foundation in research and data science, we at Nielsen have a unique vantage point on this issue and work diligently to drill down to the career challenges facing young people today. Technical skills related to science and technology are particularly crucial to some people, while others put a premium on communication and teamwork.

Regardless of any differences, what a young person is looking for as they start their career is rewarding employment with a good work-life balance, and a decent salary so they can enjoy their life outside work and plan for the future. Companies can contribute to building a better future for them, as they have specialized resources that can be deployed for the greater good, as evidenced by the importance some candidates assign to a company’s stance on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

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Data and technology skills have never been more relevant nor more important; areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are in increasing demand by businesses, hungry to extract value from the ever-expanding volume of data being generated by the technology that facilitates our lives today. Data scientists have traditionally been sourced from the disciplines of Statistics, Computer Science and Engineering; but we are seeing an increasing trend of universities offering Data Science degree courses. The role of data scientist continues to top various lists of the best jobs to seek, and it’s easy to see why. At Nielsen, we understand this as well as anyone.

That said, with the rapid pace of technological innovation, we can’t anticipate exactly what skills and knowledge will be most relevant three years from now—or even six months from now. Curiosity, adaptability, lifelong learning, and leadership abilities will always find a home.

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But even beyond that, young people can set themselves up for success when they develop intersectional, complementary interests. Opportunities in fields such as Medicine, Humanities and the Creative Arts will continue; but business roles in the future will increasingly depend on a blend of technical skills—centered on data, analytics, and technology—coupled with human skills—such as critical thinking, communication, relationship-building, and teamwork. Such a balance of skills can help young professionals stand out.

Machines are not going away, and as they become more and more integrated into our lives, their impact will continue to redefine jobs for the future. Those that adapt, those that develop both the technical and human skills, will be best-placed for success.