The Data Science India Attrition Report is an annual study that delves into the attrition trends to provide a comprehensive view of the changing landscape of attrition in India’s data science industry. The report looks at the attrition rates across several categories, including geographies, company sizes, years of experience, industries, and cities.
This study can be benefitted recruiters, entrepreneurs, industry policymakers, companies, data science experts to get the overall view about the attrition rate of the data science industry in India.
You can access reports from previous years at the link below:
The attrition rate in the Data Science market stands at 28.1% in 2021, a 12.1pp increase compared to 2020. The massive increase in the attrition rate is largely due to higher demand for data science professionals across industries.
The increasing adoption of digitisation among various traditional firms, and the explosion of tech startups in India, accelerated the demand for professionals with digital skills. Especially professionals with expertise in data science are in very high demand across industries. They help companies leverage available data to gain customer insights, predict future trends, streamline business processes, and others.
In addition, due to their criticality to businesses, professionals in this domain are experiencing massive opportunities to switch their jobs for higher salaries, flexible work arrangements, ESOPs, and other benefits as companies are in the hunt to recruit the best talent in the market. As a result, the attrition rate in the data science market has skyrocketed.
- The attrition rate for data science/analytics professionals for the year 2021 stood at 28.1%, up from 16.0% in 2020.
- The attrition rate of large companies with more than 10,000 employees is 30.8% and of companies with less than 50 employees is at 26.7%.
- Bangalore has the highest attrition rate among metropolitan cities, at 29.7%, followed by Mumbai (28.8%), Kolkata (28.1%), and Delhi/NCR (27.8%).
- BFSI has the highest attrition at 34.2%, whereas the lowest is for Telecom at 20.5%.
- High growth firms like Startups and Boutiques have the highest attrition rates of 43.7% and 42.1%, respectively.
- The attrition rate among key data science roles is the highest for AI/ML Engineers at 34.3%.
- More than one in three (34.5%) data science professionals with less than two years of experience switched jobs in 2021 — this number reduces to 12.9% for professionals with more than 10 years of experience.
- Entry-level professionals switched jobs at a rate of 32.3% compared to leadership roles who have an attrition rate of 15.0%.
Attrition by Company Size
The attrition rate is the highest for companies with a size of 5001-10000 at 37.5%
The attrition rate for employees in the 5001-10000 and 10000+ company size more than doubled in the last year
The attrition rate was around 50% for employees with less than two years of experience across all company sizes
Overall, the attrition rate of data science professionals was the highest for companies sized 5001-10000 at 37.5%. It was also high for companies with more than 10,000 employees at 30.8%. This number is around 26.7% for companies with less than 50 employees and 28.6% for 51-200. The lowest attrition rate at 25.0% is for mid-sized companies with 201-500 employees.
Over the years, the attrition rate for mid-sized companies is seen to be low compared to small enterprises or bigger firms. Smaller companies have lower stability while bigger companies present data science professionals with lesser opportunities to scale in their careers.
Companies across all sizes see a higher attrition rate in entry-level to mid-level roles than individuals in management to leadership roles. Even companies sized 201-500 had the second-highest attrition rate (51.1%) for employees with less than two years of experience.
The highest Y-o-Y rise (20.5 pp) in attrition rate from 2020 to 2021 was seen in companies with 5001-10000 employees. Conversely, the increase was lowest (2.7pp) for the companies with less than 50 employees.
The attrition rate for companies with 501-100 and 1001-5000 employees increased by relatively low margins of 12.6pp and 14.3pp, respectively.
Attrition by Cities
Bangalore has the highest attrition rate among all metropolitan cities at 29.7%
The attrition rate in Bangalore and Chennai almost doubled (1.9 times) in 2021 on a Y-o-Y basis
More than one in four of professionals who switched jobs in India moved to companies in Bangalore
Considering that it is called the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore provides the highest number of job opportunities across sectors for techies to switch their jobs for better career growth. As a result, it has the highest attrition rate at 29.7%. Furthermore, around 27.7% of total data science professionals who switched jobs in 2021 in India moved to companies based in Bangalore. Mumbai stood in second place with an attrition rate of 28.8%.
Bangalore and Mumbai also had the highest annual increase in their attrition rates of approximately 13.9pp and 13.0pp.
On the other hand, Hyderabad had the lowest attrition rate at 22.7% and also saw the lowest Y-oY growth of just 8.7pp.
Sectors with high attrition rate are predominantly based in Mumbai. These are also sectors seeing a high adoption of data-driven technologies leading to more job opportunities in the field.
The attrition rate by years of experience is highest for the professionals with less than two years of experience across all the cities, ranging from 31.7% for Hyderabad to 43.7% for Bangalore. On the other hand, the attrition rate is lowest for professionals with more than 10 years of experience, ranging from 13.7% for Chennai to 19.6% for Hyderabad.
Cities like Kolkata and Pune see a high attrition rate among younger professionals as they seek opportunities in bigger cities like Bangalore, Delhi, and Mumbai.
Attrition by Industries
BFSI had the highest attrition rate at 34.2% in 2021
BFSI had the highest increase in attrition of 21.2pp in 2021 compared to the previous year
The attrition for BFSI (34.2%) is roughly 1.7 times higher than Telecom industry (20.5%) that has the lowest attrition
The highest attrition rate is witnessed by BFSI at 34.2%, followed by Pharma & Healthcare at 32.8%. The key reasons for higher attrition across these industries can be attributed to the high competition of data science talent with the respective domain knowledge.
To continuously enhance the quality of their apps and customer experience, Intenet/eCommerce firms are chasing talent from within the industry by offering significantly higher packages and other perks. As a result, the attrition rate in the industry is the third-highest at 31.9%, an increase of 14.4pp on a Y–o-Y basis.
The telecom sector had the lowest attrition rate at 20.5%. It also had the second-lowest annual increase of just 11.4pp in its attrition rate.
While increasing digitisation has led to many opportunities for data scientists across sectors, traditional industries like Telecom, Oil & Industrial, or Education still tend to have lower attrition rates.
Across most industries, professionals with less than two years of experience had the highest attrition rate, ranging from 28.3% for Telecom to 42.1% for BFSI. On the other hand, professionals with more than ten years of experience have the lowest attrition rate, ranging from 8.0% for Oil & Industrial to 18.9% for Pharma & Healthcare.
The attrition rate of professionals with 3-5 years of experience in Telecom and Marketing & Advertising (31.4% and 38.5%) is lower than the attrition rate of professionals with less than or equal to two years of experience (28.3% and 29.5%).
Attrition by Company Type
Across company types, the attrition rate is highest in Startups at 43.7%
The attrition rate in Startups is 1.7 times higher than the rate in Domestic Firms
Almost one in two (47.7%) of managers in Boutique analytics firms switched jobs in the last year
Despite better pay scales and faster career advancement opportunities, the attrition rate among Startups and Boutiques firms in India is the highest. The key reasons for such a high attrition rate include high uncertainty, overburdening employees with work, reluctance in power decentralisation, and culture. As a result, the attrition rate in these firms stands at 43.7% and 42.1%, respectively.
High growth firms like startups and boutique AI firms tend to have high attrition rates as data scientists jump ships fast within these firms seeking better opportunities.
This is followed by Consulting firms (34.5%) and Captives (30.5%). These firms offer competitive salaries, and professionals are often seen jumping ships within these firms for a better paycheck.
The no-growth path, neck to neck competition, and bad work culture are a couple of main reasons for the attrition rate in IT Service firms. However, comparatively lower, the attrition rate for these firms stands at 27.6%.
Domestic firms witness a lower attrition rate due to comparatively slower adoption of emerging technologies. Also, the culture in these firms influences the low attrition rates to an extent. Hence, the rate of attrition is around 25.0% within domestic firms.
Attrition by Years of Experience & Seniority
The attrition rate is the highest across most segments (cities, industries, firms, company size and seniority) for professionals with less than two years of experience
The attrition rate for professionals with 6-10 years of experience more than doubled (2.3 times) on a Y-o-Y basis
More than one in eight (12.9%) professionals with over 10 years of experience switched their jobs
Professionals with less than two years of experience have the highest attrition rate at 34.5%—5.7pp higher than the previous year.
On the other hand, the lowest attrition rate is for professionals with more than ten years of experience—at 12.9%, this is a Y-o-Y increase of 4.9pp.
Hence, the gap between the attrition rates of those with more than ten years of experience and those with less than two years of experience grew further to 21.6pp in 2021, up from 20.8pp in 2020.
A significant increase in attrition across experience brackets of 3 to 5 and 6 to 10 years indicates a high demand for experienced hands-on data science professionals.
The attrition rate for professionals with 3-5 years of experience (at 32.5%) grew by more than 1.8 times over the previous year and for professionals with 6-10 years of experience (at 25.8%) by 2.3 times.
At 32.3%, entry-level professionals have an attrition rate more than twice (2.2 times) of CXOs who have an attrition rate of 15.0%
The attrition rate of entry-level positions in startups and consulting firms was higher than average with around one out in two professionals switching jobs in 2021
Almost one out of five (19.0%) VPs across all industries switched jobs
The highest attrition rate is seen for entry-level at 32.3%, whereas CXOs see the lowest attrition at 15.0%.
The attrition gap between the CXOs and entry-level professionals will be 17.3pp in 2021.
The second highest attrition rate by seniority is seen in senior to managerial roles, at 27.8%.
The attrition rate for Directors and VPs is 23.1% and 19.0%, respectively.
Attrition by Data Science Roles
More than one-third of professionals in AI engineering roles – AI/ML Engineer (34.3%), Deep Learning Engineer (33.5%), – are actively switching jobs
Data scientists have an attrition rate of 28.6%, 3.6pp higher than data analysts
One in two AI/ML Engineers (48.2%) and NLP Engineers (49.2%) with experience less than two years switched jobs last year
The attrition rate is highest for NLP engineers at 36.0%, followed by AI/ML engineers and Deep Learning Engineer at 34.3%, and 33.5% respectively. This attrition increases significantly for analytics professionals with less than two years of experience (48.2% and 41.6% respectively).
Data professionals in engineering roles are gaining importance as the issues with scalability of AI/ML models become more pertinent. A lack of good talent in the field also makes these professionals prone to attrition.
Data Scientists have an attrition rate of 28.6% compared to 27.3% for Business Intelligence Analysts and 25.0% for Data analysts. These three roles have a higher attrition rate (62.3%, 64.7%, and 64.7% respectively) when it comes to Boutique Analytics firms.
High demand for data engineers is also reflected in their attrition rates, which stands at 31.9%. In the BFSI sector, this increases to 38.5%.