Less than a quarter of employees (23%) across Australia and New Zealand are equipped to thrive in a data-oriented and automated workplace, reveals a research by Qlik. In fact, almost two in five (37%) employees considered switching their job in the last one year. Lack of adequate upskilling/ training opportunities being the key driver.
The study, ‘Data Literacy: The Upskilling Evolution’ published by Qlik in partnership with The Future Labs gathered insights from expert interviews and surveys from over 1,200 global C-level executives and 6,000 employees.
According to the study, Australians cited among the highest need - up to 83% - for data literacy in some departments, while their employers offered some of the lowest levels of data literacy training, as low as 8%, to them. A mere 12% of Australian employees felt fully confident in their data literacy skills, which was slightly above the global average of 11%, however, this confidence was lower than the UK at 13% while significantly behind the US at 22%.
The study further emphasised a stark need to better upskill workforces to support the workplace transition that is already underway.
Data literacy for decision-making
A significant majority (88%) of business leaders and employees agreed that data literacy - defined as the ability to read, work with, analyse, and communicate with data - will be the most in-demand skill by 2030, as vital as the ability to use a computer today.
“Our research shows that only one in 10 employees in finance, marketing and HR teams are offered data literacy training, despite the fact that approximately 70% of these staff need these skills on an everyday basis. Enterprise leaders need to understand where data can solve problems and drive value in the business and invest in the skills to realise it,” said Dr. Paul Barth, Global Head of Data Literacy, Qlik.
“In an increasingly uncertain world, data gives companies the power to better guide decisions, but it is only as powerful as the ability to use it. As the world becomes more and more data centric, data literacy training is essential across all fields, not just for data science specialists.”
Interestingly, despite a lack of organisation-led training, 87% of executives expect team members to be able to explain how data influenced their decisions, stated the survey. Further, it was found that the use of data and its importance in decision-making has doubled over the past year.
Data Literacy training should cover three areas, explained Dr. Barth.
- First, people should learn the decision-making process, from asking clear, data-oriented questions, to understanding data and KPI’s, and validating insights by challenging the data
- Second, it should cover basic statistical concepts – understanding data aggregations and distributions to see trends, identifying noisy or biased data to avoid misleading results, and data visualisations that reveal insights
- Finally, people should learn ‘soft’ skills essential for turning insights into action. Understanding cognitive biases—traits we all have—ensures they look past their assumptions and expectations to see the data clearly. “Data storytelling hones their ability to communicate effectively to a non-technical audience. And collaboration skills enable teams to share their insights and stay aligned to deliver continuous improvements.”
Workplace of the future
Business leaders strongly believe that intelligent tools will foster greater collaboration in the evolving workplace, while also enhancing decision-making abilities (86%) and productivity (86%).
The demand for digital talent is such that nearly half (47%) of C-level executives predicted hiring a Chief Automation Officer within the next 3 years, with 100% of them estimating the requirement within the next decade. Beyond leadership, data literacy will also be crucial for employees across hierarchies. In fact, more than three in five (61%) employees surveyed believe that data literacy will help them stay relevant in their role with the growing use of AI.
“While employers are increasing their investment and data literacy training - 49% in the next year - it still lags far behind the expectations of employees. Approximately 45% of employees are anxious that their employer isn’t taking responsibility for nurturing their skills, and they are spending both time (seven hours/month), and money, ($2,800), upskilling themselves,” Dr. Barth said.
Almost half (45%) of the workforce is open to changing jobs if they could get better preparation and training, while over a third (35%) have done so in the past 12 months.
“Employers will have to pay more to replace these lost skills - in the US executives expect to pay a 20% premium for workers with data literacy skills,” added Dr. Bath..