Is The Current Talent Shortage a Myth?


Is The Current Talent Shortage a Myth?

I’ve been recruiting analytical positions for almost 8 years and it’s never been so competitive. I see a lot of recruiters and companies are saying there’s a ‘talent shortage’, and it’s made me wonder if this really is the case.

Personally I’ve found my work rate has had to increase this year to unearth the talent, but is there really a talent shortage? Personally, I’m not convinced that there is and here are a few of my thoughts on the issue.


More demand for data

“Data Science” has exploded over the past couple of years and nowadays if you don’t have a Data Science team you’re not considered ‘fashionable’. Some companies’ desire to build said team has led to the “Data Scientist” title becoming a little bit blurry, no doubt leading to some change in perception about Data Scientist vs Data Analyst.
Larger businesses have the power to attract – but do they snap up all of the talent?

It’s no surprise that several top candidates head to Google, Facebook, Microsoft etc when looking for a new position. But is this where all the talent is disappearing to?

It’s our job to work this out and in some of my recent work, I’d say there are a lot of candidates who aren’t so keen to work in larger businesses. However, working for a larger company can sometimes (but not always) mean that you’ll be swallowed up in a big team and may not be exposed to some of the varied challenges on offer in a smaller business.


What about smaller businesses?

Whilst we work with numerous large businesses, our real skill (certainly mine) is in helping smaller companies to attract top talent into their growing teams.

A lot of these smaller businesses don’t have the resources, expertise, or time to advertise. Most of the time the problem is the latter, but it can also be a combination of all three when hiring is a struggle.

Getting the right balance in the recruitment process is key and it’s a mixture of being flexible, moving quickly and having the right attitude to hiring that makes for a winning formula. I’ve helped a number of these companies work out the right formula and as a result they generally haven’t noticed a “talent shortage”.


Maths and data – are they being connected early enough?

Nowadays, data is essential (to what?). There’s more and more being created every single day and not all of it is numerical, showing that this is not necessarily a mathematical or statistical topic.

So another question is – and I am only scratching the surface here – do we need to link Maths, Stats and Data more closely in bachelor’s degrees and even A-Level? Yes, there’s still a need for purely Mathematical degrees, but do we need to create more analytics courses and not just at master’s level? In my opinion, it’s a yes, starting with teaching R and Python as a minimum, along with Statistics, in these courses. When I think back to my own studies, I certainly didn’t learn much of this during my A-Levels and degree.



Several companies which have successfully built high quality teams have done so because of their flexibility for potential.

Whilst there is always a perfect candidate for a job, there’s also a second best, third best, etc. Whenever I put candidates forward to roles I’m working on, every one of them has the potential to do the job and do it well, and it doesn’t matter if they’re the second or third-best candidate.

So, is there really a shortage of analytical talent, or do we just need to be more flexible and give more candidates a chance? And along with being flexible on the candidate, what about being flexible in terms of days in the office, or hours?


Summary: the talent is still out there

It’s clear we have an incredible amount of talent in the UK, and whether this exists at a Google, or a Facebook, or at a start-up, it’s our job as recruiters to unearth this talent. Do large companies have a monopoly on talent? Not necessarily, and if they currently do, it doesn’t need to be this way.

As recruiters, it’s also our job to attract talented candidates by creating excitement about a job and selling candidates in to the story and potential future of a business.

Also, when it comes to attracting that ‘top talent’, perhaps a client needs to try to look beyond a specification checklist and consider the person and potential behind the candidate. Yes, they might not tick every box for the role right now, but if they’ve got the essential skills and the drive and ambition to learn and do more, why not give them a chance and see what they can do? That could very well be where the hidden talent lies…

Saragossa are a talent provider specialising in the Financial Technology, Financial Operations and Data Science sectors. Our role is to match clients with high calibre candidates. Our work encompasses filling temporary contracts along with building permanent teams and resourcing projects. To find out more, please contact or call 020 7871 3666.