Philippines grapples to meet demand for data analysts — PIDS

Czeriza Valencia - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Demand for data analysts in the country is steadily rising, but higher education institutions (HEIs) are not producing enough graduates to fill positions, according to a new paper by the Philippine Institute for Developing Studies (PIDS).

The policy note titled “Aligning higher education with demands for data science workforce” said skills needed for data science and analytics in the country remain underdeveloped in the Philippine workforce.

“With the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, however, comes the increasing demand for data science and analytics workforce which can help mitigate this issue on employment. Sadly, DSA skills remain underdeveloped among the Philippine workforce,” PIDS said.

“Behind this is the school- industry gap, wherein educational institutions fail to hone skills that meet industry demands,” it added.

The study found that several undergraduate degrees in the country have been providing the pathway for DSA professionals but currently do not provide specific training.

These include computer science, business administration, statistics, mathematics, information technology, library and information science, economics, physics, industrial engineering, and civil engineering.

Among these programs, industrial engineering and computer science were the best stepping stones to a DSA career.

In 2019, these 10 DSA-related programs produced 176,597 professionals but only 38 percent or 62,583 workers were assessed as ready for shift in the high demand DSA field.

This was short of the 81,078 DSA job roles that needed to be filled.

The study also found a misalignment between the type of DSA workers sought by employers and the type of DSA graduates produces by HEIs in 2019.

For example, demand was highest for functional analyst at 66 percent of the demand but HEIs produced mostly data engineers at 74 percent of the supply.

“The findings indicated a scarcity of DSA competencies in the current workforce and a misalignment between the demand and supply of DSA professionals in the country,” PIDS said.

“Such misalignment can be attributed to the fact that DSA is still at its infancy in the Philippines,” it added.

The Analytics Association of the Philippines (AAP) defines analytics as the “process of progressing data along the value chain as it transforms data to information to insight to imperatives with the purpose of delivering the right decision support to the right people and digital processes at the right time for the good of society.”

To address the skills mismatch and shortage, PIDS urged the AAP to promote understanding among stakeholders regarding the competencies that need to be developed among graduates.

“Currently, AAP’s professional maturity model is being enhanced and can be an appropriate starting point in aligning the demand and supply of DSA workers and competencies in the country,” said PIDS.

Relevant government agencies, such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) are also urged to collaborate with industry players more efficiently through policies and programs fitting to the industry needs.

“The government must also increase the public’s awareness of the DSA profession so students can choose a DSA career by taking related undergraduate programs,” it added.

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