Big data continues to explode, and data scientists remain in high demand. So much so, that 80% of UK businesses plan to hire a data scientist in 2019, according to a new report from MHR Analytics.

MHR Analytics surveyed some 200 company leaders for its Data Surge Report, which found that 34% would “definitely be hiring a data scientist or specialist,” while 45% were considering it. Only 22% completely ruled out a data scientist hire for 2019.

This is despite that fact that another report revealed 47% of UK company leaders felt that their workforce lacked the digital skills needed to remain competitive for the next decade, an MHR Analytics press release noted.

In terms of how the respondents saw the benefits of a larger data science team, 25% said it would lead to more accurate decision making, and 20% cited stronger understanding of business information, the report said. Only 4% said reduced administration cost was a key benefit.

“It’s now clear that 2019 will be the year of the data surge, with eight in 10 companies seeking specialist skills and expertise to help navigate potentially uncertain market conditions,” Nick Felton, MHR Analytics senior vice president, said in the press release. “Many organisations have now switched onto the fact that data analytics improves forecasting and enables more accurate decision-making. Data scientists are increasingly being relied on to give the clear picture when it comes to strategic business planning.”

SEE: Job description: Data scientist (Tech Pro Research)

What’s interesting, Felton continued in the release, was how many organizations didn’t see cost savings as a key aspect of their data strategy. A good strategy can increase efficiency across the organization, he said in the release.

Of those surveyed, 34% said they had a data strategy that was in the further stages of implementation. An additional 30% said they regularly conducted big data projects, and 7% had no conversations around their big data strategy.

So, how are organizations faring when it comes to their big data challenges? More than half (51%) said the response was good while 21% said it was not very good.

Want to learn more about what it takes to become a data scientist? Check out this cheat sheet from TechRepublic.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • 80% of UK businesses are planning to hire a data scientist in 2019. — MHR Analytics, 2018
  • 51% of companies had a good response to their big data challenges while 21% had a negative response. — MHR Analytics, 2018