data.org, the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation (PJMF), and Dalberg believe in a future in which people everywhere can use data to solve society’s greatest challenges and improve lives around the globe. But to realize this potential, building the next generation of diverse data talent for social impact is essential.
Workforce Wanted: Data Talent for Social Impact is a first-of-its-kind report on global data talent in the social sector. Confronting systemic challenges and highlighting both immediate and big-picture opportunities, this report delivers the current landscape and reveals four pathways forward for building purpose-driven data professionals. With the values of inclusivity, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) core to this work, Workforce Wanted identifies an opportunity to shape and support a pool of 3.5 million data professionals focused on social impact in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) over the next ten years.
No one can do this work alone, but together, we can build a diverse workforce of purpose-driven data professionals advancing social impact. Join us. Download the report today.
Bring visibility to an emerging pool of talent: data professionals focused on social impact in developing contexts
Explore the potential to accelerate this labor market segment, particularly when it comes to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA)
Offer recommendations for like-minded efforts to dramatically grow and expand access to purpose-driven data professionals around the world
Most funding for nonprofits is focused on programmatic budgets (i.e., goes directly to the end beneficiary), which starves organizations of resources to build themselves, including investing in leadership capacity and data capabilities.
Isha Sharma, Associate Director, India Leaders for Social Sector (ILSS)
The big push to build an army of data scientists for jobs in the public sector, private sector, and civil society must be complemented with efforts to create enabling institutional and leadership environments that place a high premium on the use of data and evidence.
Data for Better Lives, World Bank, 2021
The biggest mistake that we’ve been making in this work is offering data-specific training. We need to be offering programmatic courses that incorporate data.
Vice President, Transformative Philanthropy
Experiment Early and Evaluate Often
The nature of a nascent field requires actions that will crowd in others, draw attention to what works, quickly demonstrate limitations, and facilitate frequent pivots.
Prioritize Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA)
Prioritize IDEA when considering access to education and training, links between training and placement, and absorptive capacity of maturing data ecosystems (organizations and beyond).
Recognize the Interdisciplinary Nature of Data for Social Impact
Recognize the interdisciplinary nature of data for social impact, where the depth of technological understanding and expertise is matched with the discipline and understanding of social sciences.
Move from Individuals to Ecosystems
Recognize the role an individual leader plays within an organization, an industry or sector, or a broader ecosystem, and align efforts and investments accordingly. Recognize the individual incentive systems already in play and the potential tensions that may exist when seeking to build new data-driven strategies or decision-making processes.
Invest in Applied Learning and Stronger Links to Professional Placement and Advancement
Invest in applied learning and stronger links to professional placement and advancement, shifting from a focus on “the number of people trained” as a critical result to “the number of people playing an active role addressing social issues and working within organizations.” Consider aligning funding with intended outcomes. Financing mechanisms that link training to sustainable employment could nudge the sector in an impact-focused direction.
Coordinate Complementary Efforts
Looking across various efforts linked to data, digital transformation, and the advancement of data-driven strategies for nonprofit or social-impact-oriented organizations we see significant opportunities for greater coordination to advance DSI as a field.
Continuously Invest in More and Better Visibility Through Data
Continuously invest in more and better visibility through data to illustrate how the ecosystem is functioning—in order to build on what works, better understand gaps, and track the many factors that influence outcomes.