China faces shortage of big data talent despite largest global supply

China boasts the largest number of data professionals in the world, accounting for 59.5 percent, as the country has amassed rich data resources in the past few years amid initiatives to promote the application of the internet and big data.

The Global Big Data Development and Analysis 2019 made a comparative study of governmental policy, programs, information sharing, innovation abilities and business development related to big data in major countries.

The United States takes second place after China, accounting for approximately 22.4 percent of the world’s data professionals.

In China, big data has been applied extensively in various fields including governmental affairs, retail, transportation, medicine, education, and public governance.

The proportion of papers from China related to the field of big data increased from 3.4 percent in 2015 to 22.8 percent in 2018. The citation rate of those papers rose from 1.8 percent in 2015 to 20.8 percent in 2018, surpassing the United States.

Although its total number of professionals in the field ranks first in the world, China is facing a shortage of big data talent. Of China’s overall employment population, those working in big data accounted for only 0.23 percent, lower than the United States, South Korea, Finland and Israel, which stood at 0.41 percent, 0.43 percent, 0.84 percent and 1.12 percent, respectively.

The report also showed the lower the per capita GDP of a country, the lower the degree of open data at a national government level, with the exception of India. Although India’s per capita GDP is relatively low, the government’s open data efforts have seen it take a lead position globally and has resulted in a large number of innovative applications.

The report was introduced by Tianfu Institute of International Big Data Strategy and Technology, CAS Research Center on Virtual Economics and Data Science, CAS Key Laboratory of Big Data Mining and Knowledge Management, and Chengdu Big Data Association.