Bank of England increases spending on data scientists

Source: Parliament Street

The Bank of England (BoE), the central bank for the United Kingdom, saw its data scientist payroll quadruple after Covid-19 hit, splashing on data staff to oversee data operations involving Covid loans.

The data, retrieved via the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) and analysed by the Parliament Street think tank, revealed the number of data scientists and data analysts employed by the Bank of England, alongside the total payroll for these roles each year between 2017 and 2021. In total over the period, the bank spent a grand total of £2,994,785 on data scientist and data analyst roles.

The most significant increase came between 2019 and 2020, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, when the BoE’s total payroll for data scientist rose from £224,579 to £914,472, an increase of 307 per cent. Whilst during that year data analyst spending also grew sharply from £195,031 to £474,303.

Prior to the pandemic, the Bank of England employed “fewer than 10” data scientists and “fewer than 10” data analysts, before a hiring drive saw the number of staff increase to 21 and 14 respectively.

The Bank of England highlighted that the role of their data staff revolved around informing strategic policy, explaining key variance and trends, and solving complex data challenges.

There was a sharp decline in the number of staff specifically employed in data scientist and data analyst roles in 2021, which the Bank of England attribute to “a change in job titles.”

Analytics expert Neil Parker, General Manager EMEA for Laiye, comments:

“With a critical role to play at the centre of the UK’s financial system and a workforce of over 4,000 people, the BoE is right to invest heavily in analytics and automation technologies to speed up operations and equip staff with the insights they need to operate effectively. As we emerge from the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, organisations in the financial services sector have a huge opportunity to transform their business models, overhauling manual processes and removing repetitive tasks that drain resources and energy from the workforce. With the right automation systems in place, organisations like the BoE can empower staff to concentrate on front line tasks, improve customer service and build a better more efficient organisation.”

Sridhar Iyengar, MD for Zoho Europe, comments:

“Data fuels the economy. It elevates organisations by enabling bespoke insight into aspects such as consumer activity and reducing risk. In fact, data insights have played an invaluable role in digitising businesses throughout the course of the pandemic, and it will only continue to grow in importance as businesses and organisations look to weather the long term effects of a turbulent economy.

“It is great to see the Bank of England recognising the value that data can hold in aiding processes and informing decision-making, particularly when it pertains to fiscal and monetary policy impacting an entire nation.

“However, not all organisations have the budget to hire data scientists, or indeed the business need to do so. Businesses can adopt purpose-made business intelligence tools that leverage natural language programming, AI and machine learning, so that data insights are at the fingertips of any member of an organisation, not just those deemed to be data experts. The technology sector has already made huge strides in developing sophisticated business intelligence software that can be used by anyone. The tech and business industries must now work to ensure these tools are within easy reach of any business or department that requires it.”

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