A significant global talent shortage is looming as companies seek to leverage Big Data for competitive advantage but struggle to find people with the right skills and competencies in this relatively uncharted territory, according to talent management and recruitment company, Hudson.

In its latest report, Tackling the Big Data Challenge , it found that 78 per cent of Australian respondents think their organisation lacks the skills and competencies to successfully undertake a Big Data initiative.

In creating the report, Hudson brought together leading practitioners in the field to discuss this critical business issue facing executives across A/NZ, and to explore the process of sourcing the right talent needed to acquire, analyse, interpret and translate Big Data into predictive insights that spur action and lead to business value.

Hudson Asia-Pacific CEO, Mark Steyn, said companies struggle to identify and recruit the right people, who will effectively manage, manipulate and most importantly, exploit these fast-growing data reserves.

"Much has been written about Big Data and organisations know there is great value to be leveraged from the volume, variety and velocity of modern data sources. However, few are tackling the challenge of how to best resource the Big Data opportunity," he said.

He attributed a study by Gartner, which estimated that by 2015, 4.4 million IT jobs globally will be created to support Big Data, but only a third of these jobs will be filled, and data experts will be a scarce, valuable commodity.

"People who can blend deep technical expertise, business and analytical skills, an understanding of the market and the customer represent nirvana in terms of Big Data talent. Unfortunately, these individuals are in short supply."

Steyn mentioned that the hardest-to-find talent in the current environment is the big data analyst.

He added that this presages a skills crisis of vast proportions and is forcing organisations to look outside the usual supply network for talent.

"Each organisation is at a different stage of leveraging Big Data and it is essential to find the right talent to unlock value from the data tsunami and turn it into actionable insights which deliver business value," he added.