Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Statistics for the Layperson

It started in 2005 with Freakonomics. The big, scary field of study previously reserved for educated economists was offered to the layperson in the form of a witty and easy to read bestseller and the layperson ate it up. We got a second helping with SuperFreakonomics in 2009 and the trend was very much the same. Regular people with no background in Economics, and perhaps not even a prior interest in world affairs, read Steven Levitt’s book about the “hidden side of everything” and were hooked.

Three years later we see a continued interest in math and science focused on everyday applications. In November, I talked about Nate Silver’s emergence as the golden child of statistics and sure enough, his star has been rising. The Signal and the Noise has average people interested in statistics, a notion unimaginable just ten years ago. And now in 2013 I’m excited for the release of Naked Statistics by Charles Wheelan, author of Naked Economics. While Naked Economics wasn’t met with quite the same fervor and praise as Freakonomics, we are living in an almost entirely different time and Mr. Wheelan’s new book is sure to ride the wave of popularity that statisticians like Nate Silver have enjoyed.  

I’m still amazed at how many people to this day view statisticians as back room number crunchers doomed to a life of anonymity. Clearly this is all changing, and Mr. Wheelan’s book is just the latest example of statistics’ prevalence in our common popular culture

Monday, January 28, 2013

Visa Statistics for Predictive Analytics

Last year, as the Big Data craze was starting to make its way into the headlines of every paper in the country, my candidates were approaching me and asking about their options. What’s the hottest industry for Big Data jobs? What cities are hiring quantitative professionals? Today, the demand for these workers is higher than ever and the ball is in the company’s court to fill the need.    

As a recruiter for predictive analytics jobs, I am in the unique position to follow trends in candidate demographics and client hiring practices. Recently, many clients have asked for data on visa statistics for analytic professionals, so I examined how many companies are willing to transfer visas and then compared this to the number of candidates on H-1Bs. 

In evaluating the transfer policies of over 50 companies, I found that over a quarter will not transfer H-1Bs.  

Number of Companies Willing to Transfer H-1B Visas:

Detail by Industry:

The analytic talent war is in full swing, and as a hiring authority, if you are not willing to transfer an H-1B, you are missing out on a substantial pool of highly qualified candidates. In a sample of over 7,000 quantitative professionals in our network with varying levels of experience, I found the following: 

Visa Status of Entry-Mid Level Candidates:

As the data clearly show, when recruiting for entry to mid level positions, companies are doing themselves a great disservice by hesitating to transfer H-1B visas. Because more seasoned workers eventually progress to a green card or citizenship, this is less of an issue with senior level professionals.   

Visa Status of Mid-Senior Level Candidates:

Overall, transferring an H-1B visa is a fairly straightforward process that will open the door to a significant number of viable candidates. To be sure, visa situations do require extra legal attention but when handled properly, it is an investment that more companies ought to be making.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for a follow up on frequently asked questions regarding visa transfers, as well as more helpful information on the predictive analytics talent pool. As I delve deeper into the demographics of my candidate database, I am finding more insight into what companies can expect when making hiring decisions and how this impacts the Big Data job market.