5 Key Learnings from CDOs About the Great Resignation

Community Blog
Written by Liz Ramey

NOVEMBER 30, 2021

It might seem like CDOs aren’t impacted as much by employee retention and attrition – but here’s food for thought. During the pandemic and the fluid business environment that followed, data leaders and their teams were called upon more than ever to provide business leaders with insights. From supply chain issues to consumers’ changing expectations, businesses need data and insights to adjust accordingly. 

In numerous conversations and town hall discussions with data and analytics leaders in the past two years, we’ve heard again and again that CDOs and their teams are busier than ever. So, how does an unusually high number of employees leaving their jobs in 2021 impact data leaders and their ability to meet these business demands? 

In a recent pulse survey, we asked data and analytics leaders about the Great Resignation and how it’s affecting their ability to find and keep talent. Here are 5 key learnings from CDOs across Evanta communities.


1. Are CDOs Experiencing the Great Resignation?

72% of CDOs in our survey said yes when we asked if they are seeing higher-than-normal rates of attrition in 2021 compared to past years. 28% of respondents said that attrition is about the same as in the past, and zero CDOs (0%) answered that they are not experiencing high attrition rates. CDOs were the only C-suite role in the survey without any respondents saying “no, we are not experiencing higher attrition this year.”


2. Top Causes of Attrition

70% of data and analytics leaders believe that the top cause of attrition is competitors or other companies actively recruiting their employees. 58% felt it was compensation or other benefits causing turnover, and 55% of CDOs attributed it to high workloads, lack of resources or burnout.


3. CDO Retention & Recruitment Strategies

To retain employees, 63% of CDOs said they are offering more flexibility. Tied for second place at 54% were both improving company culture and reviewing promotion paths and rates.

Promoting company culture and employee engagement are also important for recruiting new employees. 70% of respondents selected it as their number one recruitment strategy, while 61% cited offering flexible work arrangements, and 57% said having competitive compensation and benefits were their top strategies.


4. A Top Priority

When asked how high of a priority employee attrition is for them right now, 74% of CDOs responded that it’s a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being their top priority. 26% – more than a quarter of respondents – even cited it as a 5, or their top priority right now. Only CHROs had a higher percentage of survey respondents citing attrition as their top priority.


5. The Great Resignation Duration

The highest number of CDOs indicated that they think the Great Resignation will last for the next 6 to 12 months (37%). 28% of data and analytics leaders believe it will last for 12 months or more, and only 8% of CDOs expect it to be over soon, or lasting for 6 months or less.

Planning for 2022 can be difficult with so much fluidity on the team and in the workforce. CDOs had these thoughts about how they are managing the uncertainty and trying to encourage employee engagement:


Building our bench strength and creating a hybrid, flexible future of work.”

Planning for some loss and cross training more.”

Working with my team through a process to increase engagement, team connectedness, and personal alignment to the work.”

We are actually hiring for some roles that we anticipate will turn over to build a buffer.”


To find out more about employee attrition, recruiting and retention from your CDO peers, check out our calendar of upcoming CDO events, or learn more about the results from our pulse survey here


Liz Ramey headshot

Liz Ramey

Director, Content at Evanta, a Gartner Company

by CDOs, for CDOs

Join the conversation with peers in your local CDO community.