At a time when the “Great Resignation” and the “Great Reshuffle” is getting significant attention, it is interesting to note that over 80% of the Indian workforce is considering changing jobs in 2022. As more enterprises locally and internationally recognise the need for IT modernisation, the demand for skilled workers will continue to increase.
There will be explicit requirements for these skills among more job roles in 2022, including customer service, data science, business development and operations. Regardless of industry, to compete in the modern workplace, organisations will look toward data literacy as a way to prepare their staff for the future. But they also need the assistance of schools and universities to prepare new talent before they even walk through the door. Employers will also pay closer attention to applicants’ emotional quotient (EQ), knowing that employees who lack emotional intelligence are more likely to fail.
Obtaining the Skills of the Future
Do you remember the last time basic reading and writing skills were not required to get a job? Probably not. Likewise, the day is coming when data literacy will be so prevalent that everything that came before it will be a distant memory.
That day isn’t here yet, but it will begin to unfold in 2022 as businesses attempt to do more with data. While few will be expected to become data scientists, employers will start looking for people who are data-literate. For many jobs, data and analytics skills will be listed as explicit requirements, which will create a distinct advantage for applicants who possess these skills.
This isn’t about thinning the herd—managers genuinely want and need people who can read, analyse, and work with data. They will pay special attention to applicants’ abilities when hiring for roles across various departments. HR may even begin to track data and analytics skills for all prospective employees and ultimately lean in favour of data-literate candidates.
The good news for employees is that many companies will be eager to help their staff grow these skills by offering data literacy training as part of their retention and growth efforts.
Data should empower, not overwhelm employees
The reason why companies are so eager to upskill their employees is because of the ‘data-value gap’. A Forrester survey by Accenture revealed that while organisations generate, store and analyse data, a majority of it is never analysed. Another study by Qlik and Accenture, conducted on behalf of the Data Literacy Project, revealed that this data literacy gap is causing a disconnect and impacting Indian organisations’ ability to thrive in a data-driven economy.
Despite 83% of Indian employees recognising data as an asset, few use it to make informed decisions. India has the highest data literacy level globally, with close to half (46%) reporting that they are confident in their ability to read, understand, question and work with data. That said, while more than half (53 percent) of employees trust their decisions more when based on data, four in five (80 percent) frequently rely on their “gut feeling” rather than data-driven insights while making decisions.
The other issue is the lack of data skills, which affects productivity. An eye-opening 85% of Indian employees reported feeling overwhelmed or unhappy when working with data, the highest percentage globally. Nearly half (47%) of the employees surveyed said they will find an alternative method to complete the task without using data at all. Now, this is detrimental to their own growth and for the organisation’s bottom line.
To succeed in the data revolution, business leaders must help employees become more confident and comfortable in using data insights to make decisions. Employees who are more data-literate are more likely to feel empowered to make better decisions and are trusted to make better decisions. A data-driven workforce can be created when leaders define how different roles across the organisation will work with data to achieve their goals. This requires an organisation to provide the necessary tools and processes that will enable professionals to work with data, create actionable insights that will eventually lead to positive business outcomes.
Learning at the Youngest Age Possible
Data literacy does not end at work, and for future generations, it should not begin there either. It would be a disservice to students to send them off into the workforce without first preparing them for an integral aspect of virtually any job imaginable. Many universities are already recognizing that they must do their part and are adding data literacy to their curriculum to teach students about the importance of data literacy, why this skill is invaluable, and how it is becoming a critical career differentiator.
Furthermore, students of all ages need to understand how to read, write, and work with data at some point in the future. Primary schools and universities will evolve quickly to fulfil that need or risk missing a pivotal window during their students’ education. Many people are beginning to realise it’s important to get these concepts into children at the youngest age possible.
Highlighting the EQ
The work will not only include data literacy but also take a closer look at the EQ of those who apply.
Researchers at Cornell University and the University of Toronto have shown a link between EQ and decision-making. Emotionally intelligent people are also better at enduring stress and making smart decisions. Given the importance of EQ, organisations have learned that technical experts without a growth mindset are likely to fail. The same can be said for data architects who do not actively listen or analysts who do not collaborate well with others.
Collaboration and communication are essential and are continuing to increase in importance. In order to democratize data and analytics, ivory towers of expert data scientists must be transformed into diverse decision-making communities. EQ aspects are beginning to stand out as businesses refine their hiring strategies and better define what they are looking for in a candidate. Yes, we are in the midst of the “Great Resignation,” but top talent is still at a premium, and organisations will continue to be diligent in their search for the right type of top-tier talent.
Hiring the Right Talent for Years of Success
In a highly competitive marketplace, businesses need every advantage they can get to compete. Data does not simply level the playing field; it is the difference between companies that thrive and those that merely survive, which is why data and analytics skills will be required for so many jobs. Schools and universities must do their part and help prepare students for the future of work. But smart organisations aren’t waiting around and have already started to deploy their own programs to ensure their staff is ready to use data. When data skills are paired with high EQ, employers acquire the rare talent they need to succeed for years to come.