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Head of Data Science

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About us.

We’re The Very Group, home to, and a team of 4,000 super-talented people.

We’re the UK’s largest integrated digital retailer and financial services provider, and we’ve been helping customers say yes when it matters most for over 100 years. In that time, we’ve consistently reinvented our business to adapt to economic conditions and industry changes – going from bricks, to clicks, to mobile.

But despite our passion for reinvention, we’ve never wavered from our purpose; to make good things easily accessible to more people. It means giving our customers the brands they love, an outstanding shopping experience and flexible ways to spread the cost.

We’ve continued to deliver for our customers throughout the Covid-19 outbreak – and we’ve done it by transforming the way we work.

We’re fired up for the future and the next stage in our development. We’ll give customers access to more great brands for themselves and their families, a seamless shopping experience and even more control of their finances through innovation in flexible ways to pay.

What we do:

Data Science at The Very Group utilises advanced analytical techniques and statistical modelling to support many areas of the business and contribute to their success. This can range from working on how we measure and optimise our marketing spend, how we make stock purchasing decisions, to how do we diagnose the crucial customer challenges in our digital customer experience and make recommendations to improve them.

Some of our key wins recently have included:

  • The introduction of a new Digital Attribution report to help our marketing teams operate more effectively.
  • Successfully launched a suite of individual product recommendations within email communications
  • The adoption of a Quasi Experimentation methodology to provide teams with a greater level of understanding of the impact changes in marketing and financial products have on our customers
  • We launched a new methodology for analysing customer feedback as part of our NPS survey which helps us to diagnose customer problems more efficiently.
  • A successful internal hackathon where a number of colleagues from across The Very Group joined forces to solve key data challenges.
  • Launched demand forecasting models to help make effective product planning and buying decisions.

These recent wins within the team highlight the importance of the function to the business. Demand for the team is always greater than what we can meet. Data is at the very heart of our business with board level visibility of many of the projects we work on.

How we work:

The Data Science team works with many different parts of our business, adopting working styles to best suit the collaboration. Our business is moving towards a Tribe and Product structures which provides our data science teams the opportunity to work closer to the business problem. The team champions innovation and a pioneering spirit for constant development. Our teams are empowered to work on complex projects and develop a strong culture of friendship and collaboration. We encourage our team members to feel part of the wider data community across the business.

What do we look for?

The Head of Data Science will be responsible for leading the entire Data Science, Machine Learning and Experimentation teams, including both teams managing our current estate and developing our future architecture across the platforms/areas above.

You will be responsible for effectively managing the capex budget for the Data Science teams and handling all vendor relationships for enterprise Data Science and Machine Learning Tools/Services. The Head of Data Science will be accountable for major analytics vendor contracts (each £M+) with companies such as SAS and AWS. Team & Approach

You will have a team in the short term of circa 20+ FTE – over-time this may double as we look to further improve our Data Science, AI and Machine Learning skills and capabilities. The operating model will be that of Hub and Spoke. Hub being the Centre of Excellence (COE) for central data science topics, initiatives, framework and approaches. The spokes being the application of data science in each vertical across Very. You will be a SME in your own right – being the technical specialist and lead in topics such as:

The role of Head of Data Science is not a technical expert – they have to balance that with leadership skills managing a team of 20 FTE likely growing to 40+ and also with the business/commercial acumen on financial topics like P&L, Gross/Net Margin, and understand how data science can help create trading levers for the company.


This is a blended mathematical/technical and people leadership role. We expect you will show distinctiveness in either the people leadership or mathematical/technical elements, but they will need to show strong proficiency across both. You will typically have extensive experience in Data Science roles, including people leadership expertise, and you may come from a data, product owner/management, Analytics, Mathematics or tech lead background.

Specific requirements are

    • Deep technical knowledge of the Data Science domain, and data domain including machine learning, artificial intelligence, neural networks and advanced analytical and mathematical techniques
    • Experience in Applied Mathematics and ideally a Degree, Masters or PHd in mathematical based
    • Tech Experience in one or more coding languages such as R, Python, SQL, Julia, Java, JS, Node, C#, Scala, or others.
    • Validated experience of influencing delivery within an organisation
    • People management expertise
    • Experienced in modern ways of working (e.g. agile, lean/devops), and with a demonstrated ability to ensure technical professionals work productively
    • Good communication skills and can articulate technical challenges to a non technical person. Strong influencing skills and an highly-developed ability to work with stakeholders of many types and seniority levels
    • Deep experience with major cloud environments, ideally AWS, including managing cost effectively in such an environment
    • Experience of working within a service function that can balance development and provide 24x7 support
    • The credibility to quickly build collaborative partnerships with the wider organisation based on expertise, trust and delivery
    • A tried ability to understand overall business objectives and work within a fast- moving commercial, growth-focused consumer business

Key Responsibilities

  • Product. Set the product vision and target architecture for Data Science, gathering business requirements to do so
  • Administration. Ensure team administration happens as required, including budget setting
  • Communication. Communicate the work of the team back to stakeholders across TVG
  • Team effectiveness. Set effective ways of working in the team, and help technical professionals collaborate and work well together
  • Hiring. Hire, lead, and develop a team of technical professionals in Data Science
  • People leadership. Lead the implementation of a world-class set of Data Science tooling platforms across TVG. Provide technical guidance where required


The rewards we give you

A competitive salary and bonus are just the start. Matched pension, generous holiday allowance, maternity policy and wellbeing initiatives play a huge part in how we care for our people. We even offer flexible benefits so that everyone can shape their rewards and benefits package around their lifestyle. To view full details on the rewards click here.


  • Generous and competitive starting salary
  • Regular salary reviews and career progression
  • 30 days holiday + bank holidays + option to buy or sell 5 days
  • Additional flexible benefits allowance £10,000 (can take a part as salary uplift)
  • Generous scalable bonus (based on individual performance vs company)
  • Matched pension up 6%
  • Flexible working (2-3 days remote / 2-3 days on-site)
  • Self-development time
  • Brand discount - up to 25%
  • Free on-site gym
  • Discounted coffee houses and food outlets
  • Free on-site parking subject to postcode and availability

How to apply.

If you're interested to find out more please contact Sean Allen or Steven Williams in the talent acquisition team at The Very Group or apply online.

Please note that the talent acquisition team are managing this vacancy directly, and if successful in securing this position, you may be required to undertake a credit, CIFAS and CRB check.

We're an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, colour, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.

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