A Data Science Central Community
I'll add another reason why companies can't find analytic talent: their recruiting practices are simply awful. They drag out the due diligence process far longer than necessary; they keep candidates in the dark about where they stand; and they request many more meetings and phone calls than are necessary. I've also heard more than a few stories about hiring managers going through the process and selecting a candidate to make an offer to, and then the hiring manager's boss or the CFO refuses to sign the requisition approving the new hire. If the company needs analytic talent and they had permission to post the job, why won't they allow the manager to fill it?
I've seen this sort of shoddy, self-defeating practices at all size companies from startups to Fortune 50. It's not always a big company problem.
Good people won't put up with this nonsense. Either they go somewhere else, or they do what Vincent did and go out on their own. I agree that the people coming from other countries where math education is given more emphasis do very well in this environment, and they tend to be good entrepreneurs as well.
So what is best practice for recruiting? It's moving the process along at a brisk pace, where each communication between the candidate and the company adds value for both. It's where the time from the initial resume submission by the candidate to the formal offer letter is 2-3 weeks, during which time there was a phone screen, an on-site interview, submission of HR paperwork, a follow-up phone call from the hiring manager, reference checking, a verbal offer, a negotiation phone call, and the offer letter. (If it takes 4-6 weeks to do those things, that's still a good performance.) If the company can't keep things going at a reasonable pace, it should tell the candidate what the hangup is, and when to expect it to clear up. Stonewalling over some internal problem just wastes everyone's time.
If hiring companies would pay a bit more attention to their recruiting and hiring processes, I'm sure they would find out that there's more analytic talent out there than they think there is.