Back to News
Plain (67)
Share this Article

MERJE Markets: Catch up with Tom Cook

  • Publish Date: Posted about 1 month ago
  • Author:by MERJE
We continue our focus on Data Analytics by sitting down with MERJE’s very own Data & Analytics specialist - Consultant Tom Cook

As we shine a light on the state of play across the Data Analytics arena and how 2024 looks set to unfold, we wanted to check in with Tom to find out what’s going on in the market right now, current sector trends, what his predictions are for this year and any words of advice he has for both clients and candidates.

Well-versed in highly technical - often niche - hires, Tom is chiefly responsible for recruiting into Data and Analytics roles, usually within Financial Services, Fintech, Banking and Insurance. They encompass the areas of management information, business intelligence, data science, data analysis, data visualisation, pricing and commercial analysis.

So Tom, what do you like most about MERJE as a business?

It would have to be the autonomy given to each consultant to work in a way that best benefits their individual market. You’re surrounded by some very high performers, so there’s plenty of opportunity to continuously learn and grow.

What are the key changes you've observed across the recruitment industry since starting your career?

The way that interviews are conducted has been through a huge change. It’s very rare now to work with a business that wants to do face-to-face interviews at the first stage. In fact, a lot of offers are made without a face-to-face stage even happening.

It is, of course, such a great advancement that we’re now able to streamline everything by conducting virtual meetings, but you should never underestimate the power of being in the same room with a potential candidate. If you conduct a face-to-face but your competitor doesn’t, then that just may be the advantage you need to get everything over the line.

What are the top challenges, issues and factors that Data Analytics faces in 2024?

Smooth onboarding processes continue to be an issue across the industry. To attract top talent to your teams, the first impression can make or break the relationship, so you’re going to want to make sure you’re interviewing quickly and making offers whilst the momentum is high.

It’s also becoming more competitive out there. As businesses are ramping up their data strategy, you have to figure out what makes you better than the competition when bringing in new team members. That’s certainly not a bad thing though as it invariably leads to innovation and improvement.

Has the cost-of-living crisis impacted Data & Analytics recruitment? If so, what do you think the long term effects will be and what does the road to recovery look like?

It seems that we’re slowly coming out of the market slump of last year. Businesses appear to be hiring again as opposed to being in the ‘protect’ phase of 2023. It will likely be a slow but steady build back to normality….whatever that is!

What else do you predict will be the next ‘big thing’ when it comes to Data Analytics? What would you like to see personally?

I’d like to see more companies seeing data teams as an essential business component as opposed to a ‘nice to have’ function. There is plenty of money to be made for organisations that fully embrace the data revolution. They just need the right people to pave the way.

What are your top tips for companies hiring in the current climate?

Speed is key. If you like the look of a CV or are impressed with how an interview has gone, make a decision and move quickly to get the talent who will bring the most value to your business.

Any key advice for candidates too? For example, what are the top skills Data & Analytics employers look for?

It may sound basic, but these candidates need to remember to step away from the technology sometimes and put their commercial hats on. Analytics is there to drive business performance, so hiring managers love to speak with people that understand the impact that data will have on the wider organisation, rather than focusing solely on themselves and what they can offer.

Quick Fire

The last podcast you listened to?

I’m a big fan of the Daily Stoic Podcast by Ryan Holiday. It’s full of life lessons inspired by stoic thinkers - much more interesting than I’m making it sound!

The tune that gets you on the dance floor?

Dancing in the Moonlight by Toploader. I can never figure out if it’s a classic or cheesy but I don’t care either way – it’s a tune!

Favourite childhood memory?

There’s plenty of amazing memories exploring the fells of the Lake District. It’s an incredibly impressive place to go to as an adult, but as a child it felt like I’d stepped into another world.

Best holiday destination?

For a ‘staycation’ it would always be the Lake District. It has a special place in my heart, and I tend to go at least once a year to decompress. If I’m jumping on a plane, then as long as there’s sun and culture then I’m all over it. I’m off to Taormina in Sicily this July so that may take the crown.

If you’d like to speak to Tom in more detail about your Data & Analytics recruiting or career needs, please get in touch.