Scottish lifestyle is magnet for young data scientists

Lifestyle wins over salary as one of the top reasons young graduates want to stay and work in Scotland 

The Scottish lifestyle is a major draw for young data scientists looking for work after their studies, a new study ahead of today’s (Wednesday, 16 March) Data Talent Scotland (DTS) conference has found.
Lifestyle, job market and Scotland being their home country are the key factors contributing to why students want to stay here after graduating, according to the Data Lab study.
The research also found that of the 91 students surveyed, only seven per cent were motivated by salary, with the remainder attracted to roles that had an interesting data science challenge, a good work life balance, and support through training.
Keen to showcase Scotland’s data science potential, business, academia and the public sector will come together with data science students for the DTS event at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh today.
The unique event will give the data scientists of the future the chance to hear from the UK’s leading data innovators, with speakers from organisations including Deloitte, RBS and TSB Bank as well as NHS Scotland, fast growing fashion startup Mallzee, and health informatics pioneer Aridhia.
Hosted by The Data Lab in partnership with MBN Solutions and WeAreTheFuture, the event will bring together over 250 up and coming data scientists to meet with employers and universities. More than half of attendees will be MSc students in Data Science courses from around Scotland.
Highlighting Scotland’s exceptional data science ecosystem, hot topics will include how data is being used to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of Scotland’s population, and how data is helping to bring competition back to UK banking.
The event will also include workshops to help people keen to get into the industry and will cover topics such as soft skills and employability tips.
Among the keynote speakers will be Costi Perricos of Deloitte. The firm is expecting to create up to 70 jobs when it opens its new Digital Studio in Edinburgh later this year and Dr Perricos is eager to tap into Scotland’s talent network.
Dr Perricos said: “It’s a hugely exciting time to be a data scientist, especially if you want to work with some of the biggest clients in the world. It has never been more important for organisations to derive insights from all aspects of their business. This includes their customers and channels to operations, supply chain and support functions. We recognise the high calibre of talent in Scotland and we are keen to recruit for our new Deloitte Digital Studio and our wider consulting practice.”
Students also said they would like to have more contact with industry at technical events such as hackathons and collider events such as DTS to encourage integration between students and industry.
Gillian Docherty, chief executive of The Data Lab, said: “It is very encouraging that so many of the individuals we surveyed want to stay in Scotland after they complete their studies but with around one third of those needing a visa to work here it is a reminder that we must provide practical support to help them navigate the system.
“Big data is worth £216 million to the UK and Scotland is rapidly establishing itself as a centre of data science expertise. It is home to almost half of all of the UK’s Data Science Masters level programmes, with 17 courses available in 2016-17 across a range of sectors.”
Representatives from Talent Scotland, part of Scottish Enterprise, will also be on hand at Data Talent Scotland to provide international students with practical information about visas and immigration issues.
Kevin Hodgson, a Mathematics teacher at Kinross High School, is taking a group of secondary school pupils to the event. He is hoping to motivate more of his students to study statistics by showing them the many and varied potential career routes for data scientists.
He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our young people to find out more about the vital role of statistics in the process of data management and analysis, and the diverse opportunities there are to develop skills and knowledge into an interesting long-term career path. I am hoping the event will help to bring mathematics and statistics to life and get our students enthused about studying these subjects to a higher level.”