The market for data analytics jobs in federal, state and local government is expected to expand over the next two years as public agencies across the nation increasingly rely on data to improve operations, according to a new survey conducted by Johns Hopkins University and two partners, REI Systems and ACT-IAC.
Experienced government analytics professionals said they intend to hire more people “in a broad range of skill areas over the next 24 months,” the survey found. More than half of the 106 respondents intend to build their data teams with people who have a “credential in the field of analytics.”
Data analytics offices need more employees to help fix a glaring disconnect discovered by the survey: agencies spent far more time gathering data than analyzing, communicating and acting on it.
“The survey makes it clear that data analytics is a critical need for improving government operations, and that most agencies do not yet have enough support to make the best use of the data at their disposal,” said Jennifer Bachner, Director of Johns Hopkins University’s Government Analytics Program. “The need for qualified staff in this area is expected to grow as agencies incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning tools into their data-driven policymaking approaches.”
Those two tools are rarely used but “hold the most promise for improving government,” respondents said.
For example, the U.S. Bureau of Transportation has been using data it collects from the Waze app to deploy emergency vehicles to more quickly respond to and clear accidents. More data and the ability to quickly analyze it would empower the agency to accurately project future needs for safety response in order to plan accordingly.