A new report finds a gap between Singaporean organizations’ aspirations to be data-driven and their employees’ ability to create business value with data. Accenture and Qlik’s survey of 1,000 employees in Singapore found that each year, local companies lose an average of more than seven working days (56.5 hours) per employee. This is the second-highest time globally (after India with 69.5 hours) and significantly higher than the average of five working days (43 hours). These lost days due to procrastination and sick leave stem from stress around information, data, and technology issues, and equate to S$5.1bn in lost productivity.
The research identified two ways in which the data literacy gap is impacting Singapore organizations’ ability to thrive in the data-driven economy.
First, despite nearly all employees (90 percent) recognizing data as an asset, few are using it to inform decision-making. Only a quarter (26 percent) of surveyed employees believe they’re fully prepared to use data effectively, and just 16 percent report being confident in their data literacy skills — i.e., their ability to read, understand, question and work with data.
Second, a lack of data skills is shrinking productivity. An eye-opening 84 percent of employees report feeling overwhelmed or unhappy when working with data, almost the highest percentage globally (after India with 85%). 40 percent of surveyed employees even state that they will find an alternative method to complete the task without using data at all. Seven in 10 respondents (73 percent) report that data-overload has contributed to workplace stress, culminating in nearly half (47 percent) of the local workforce taking at least one day of sick leave.
“No one questions the value of data – but many companies need to re-invent their approach to data governance, analysis, and decision-making. This means ensuring that their workforce has the tools and training necessary to deliver on the new opportunities that data presents,” said Sanjeev Vohra, group technology officer and global lead for Accenture’s Data Business Group.
To succeed in the data revolution, business leaders must help employees become more confident and comfortable in using data insights to make decisions. Singaporean employees who identify as data-literate are nearly 50 percent more likely to feel empowered and trusted to make better decisions. Furthermore, almost half (48 percent) of employees believe that data literacy training would make them more productive.