- Unconventional hiring processes can result in more qualified talent, according to a report from Correlation One. The Future of Data Talent report focused on research in the data science field, and its findings explain how employers can better attract and assess potential data science hires.
- By volume, there are "significantly more" qualified students at tier-two and tier-three schools for data science and analytics than at tier-one schools, according to the report. And these undervalued schools house 75% of students who perform in the top 10%, the study said.
- Moreover, looking at GPA alone may inaccurately indicate students' potential and ability because of differences in grading scales, according to the study.
With a 63% jump in artificial intelligence job openings between January and September of 2018 alone, applicants with a data science background are in high demand. That's led several colleges and universities to make big investments in launching data science programs or supporting research in the growing field.
Even so, filling those roles and forecasting future skills needs continues to put the squeeze on employers. With plans to increase headcount, many have started to look to alternative credentialing instead of four-year institutions to source candidates.
That trend has led some groups to push for colleges to offer more alternative digital credentials in order to stay relevant. Colleges that don't do so may lose out to "nontraditional and tech-savvy organizations" that are responding to unmet need, contends a recent report from the International Council for Open and Distance Education.
Rather than recruit average students from top schools, Correlation One's findings suggest employers could look to recruit students from tier-one or tier-two schools who are more skilled, less expensive and easier to hire.
Indeed, public comprehensive universities — or institutions that fall somewhere between state flagships and community colleges — often offer their students considerable upward mobility, according to a separate report from the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.
Likewise, for employers prioritizing diversity and inclusion, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other organizations can be source of talented applicants who can bring both skills and new perspectives.
As diversity initiatives have stalled in the tech industry, some companies are partnering with HBCUs to strengthen the pipeline of underrepresented workers in STEM.
For example, Howard University piloted a program, called Howard West, in 2017 that sent more than two dozen students for the summer to Google's headquarters in California, where they learned on-the-job tech.
Since then, the initiative has expanded into a program called the Tech Exchange, which sends more than 60 students from several HBCUs and Hispanic-serving institutions to the Google campus for an entire academic year.