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BurtchWorks Big Data Professionals Salary Survey


This first comprehensive study of Big Data professionals reveals new insights about their backgrounds, experience and salaries. They are likely to be young, male, highly educated, very international, and well compensated. Unexpectedly, non-citizens were paid more than US citizens at the junior level.



EVANSTON, ILLINOIS (July 9, 2013) – As corporate executives compete to recruit and struggle to retain the nation’s small pool of skilled Big Data professionals, Burtch Works, a national executive search firm specializing in analytics, today released The Burtch Works Study, a detailed report on the results from its national salary survey. The report reveals new insights that more clearly define the backgrounds, experience and salaries of this rapidly growing function emerging within practically every organization.

The The Burtch WorksBurtch Works Study sample represented 2,845 Big Data professionals with varying levels of experience from entry to executive level. These respondents work in more than 700 companies nationwide. Burtch Works’ staff collected the data via individual interviews between 2011 and 2013 resulting in what is now the first comprehensive source for Big Data professional salaries.

Demographics of Big Data Professionals

Burtch Works looked at the education, skills and job responsibilities of quantitative professionals to identify those who are Big Data professionals.

  • Big Data professionals are likely to be young with the industry’s median years of experience at 11.
  • There are far fewer women among Big Data professionals than men, and their percentages decrease as experience levels increase. Of those surveyed at the experience level of zero to five years, approximately 30% are women. At the 21- to 25-year experience level, women represented 14.6% and at the 40-plus years level they represented 0%.
  • Big Data professionals are highly educated with 86% of The Burtch Works Study respondents holding an advanced degree.
  • International candidates are well represented in analytic disciplines with 61% of this study sample being U.S. citizens, 20% being permanent residents and 17% being H-1Bs.

Salaries of Big Data Professionals

In The Burtch Works Study sample, 58% were “Individual Contributors,” which means their primary responsibilities did not include people management. The remainder of the sample was “Managers” which means they were responsible for some people management.

  • Individual Contributors had a median base salary of $90,000 and 66% were bonus-eligible.
  • Management had a median base salary of $145,000 and 83% were bonus-eligible.
  • An unexpected finding was that Big Data professionals that are non-U.S. citizens at the junior level command higher salaries of $68,500 on average compared to their U.S. counterparts who command $64,000.
  • Across all job levels, women in Big Data earn anywhere from 90% to 98% of what men earn. Although women consistently earn less than their male counterparts, women in Big Data fare much better than women in the U.S. labor force overall, who, as commonly quoted, earn 77% of the average male compensation.
  • California firms tend to pay a premium to attract early-career, Big Data talent (those with 0-3 years of experience) paying approximately $15,000 more on average.
  • More experienced talent in the Northeast tends to receive higher compensation than any other U.S. region, although Burtch Works predicts the West coast will soon surpass the Northeast.
  • Big Data professionals see an average increase of 14% in their base salary when changing jobs. With annual merit increases running about 3%, Burtch Works expects attrition rates for this high-demand professional to rapidly escalate.

Burtch Works’ definition of the Big Data professional starts with an education and formal training in a quantitative discipline, such as statistics, operations research, economics or mathematics. From a skills standpoint, they are adept to using a variety of analytics tools, such as SAS, R, Hadoop and SQL. In their roles in corporate America, Big Data professionals sort and use vast quantities of accumulated data on the behavior of customers – current and potential – to more effectively reach and guide them toward a particular action, such as the purchase of a product.

Obtain More Detail on The Burtch Works Study – Free Analysis Report and Webinar

On Thursday, July 11 at 11 a.m. CST, Burtch will host a Webinar to present extensive detail on the findings from The Burtch Works Study, as well as insights into Big Data professionals. Participation is free and online registration is available.

On the same day, the firm will make a complete report on its analysis downloadable for free onwww.burtchworks.com.


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