HR Jobs of the Future explores the unique career paths emerging in the era of digital HR.
• Role: HR Data Engineer
• Salary range: US$36,000-90,000
• Reports to: Director of Workforce Management
The HR data engineer is part of a new breed of professionals emerging in the age of big data in HR. The role calls for problem-solvers – examining data with a critical eye, and innovative and passionate about business intelligence.
The various use cases of data – such as integration, warehousing, reporting, and analytics – create a range of responsibilities designed to support strategic HR functions, from recruitment to workforce planning.
Imagine, for instance, having to sift through large volumes of unstructured data from thousands of employees interacting on your company portal through text and voice commands.
The data engineer ensures (un)structured data can be deployed for descriptive, prescriptive, or predictive analytics. This requires practitioners to master different tools and languages for textual analysis and natural language processing, for example.
Such responsibilities make the data engineer and its close ally, the data scientist, indispensable to modern HR practice.
Data scientist vs Data engineer
While some might use the terms HR data scientist and data engineer interchangeably, the main difference is in how they prepare workforce data.
The data engineer collects and cleans raw data, often from multiple sources; maintains architectures such as databases; and develops data mining, modelling, and analytical processes that data scientists will use.
The data scientist, on the other hand, loads datasets into an analytics program; proceeds with modelling; finds patterns; and draws insights that stakeholders can understand.
Essentially the data scientist relies on the data engineer to process data ahead. In some small companies, however, the roles are interchanged owing to some degree of overlap in their skillsets.
Why you need an HR data engineer
In today’s HR practice, organizations are first turning to advanced analytics before formulating decisions about the workforce.
At the heart of your people analytics strategy is an HR data engineer who provides accurate, reliable, and relevant data from multiple touch points and channels used throughout the employee experience, from time-tracking tools to benefits portals; and whether they be data on compensation, succession, or even employee sentiments.
With greater insights, companies can decide on top-level strategies on a variety of concerns, from increasing diversity in hiring; closing the gender pay gap; or mapping out employee development with the right data prepped by the data engineer.