The results from the APAC Data Literacy Survey published by data analytics company Qlik has shown an escalating skills gap and troubling lack of enablement by employers is preventing those in the workforce from making strategic, data-driven decisions. In Australia specifically, only one-in-five (20 per cent) employees feel confident in their data literacy skills (i.e. the ability to read, work with, analyse and argue with data) despite growing pressure to use data within the workplace.
Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of Australian employees believe they have to deal with a higher volume of data at work than three years ago. In fact, the majority (72 per cent) of workers are using data once a week (or more) in their current roles, demonstrating rising expectations to use more data at work. The findings also revealed:
• 82 per cent of data literates say they are performing very well at work, compared with under half (49 per cent) of those that are not data literate
• 91 per cent agreed that data helps them do their job better
• 76 per cent think higher data literacy would enhance their credibility in the workplace
• 63 per cent believe data literacy would increase their value at work
“In today’s data driven economy, data literacy is as important as the ability to read and write. In fact, being able to read, work, analyse and argue with data is critical to helping us make better decisions. As a result, we are increasingly seeing these skills in high demand by employers across Australia and beyond,” said Jordan Morrow, head of data literacy at Qlik.
Across the country, not enough is being done to support workers with training and education initiatives that accelerate data literacy skills:
• Only 25 per cent believe that everyone in their organisation is empowered to use data and are data literate
• Only 18 per cent strongly believe they have had adequate training to be data literate
• 81 per cent of graduate entry level employees do not classify themselves as data literate, demonstrating a new age skills gap entering the workforce
However, the majority (66 per cent) of full time workers said they would be willing to invest more time and energy in improving their data literacy skills, if given the chance.
Morrow commented: “This research shows that workers across Australia are not being empowered by their employers. On the one hand, expectations are up: employees must use more data, day-to-day, than they ever have before. On the other hand, employers are not providing the training needed to succeed. Both employers and employees need to take ownership and be more proactive in bridging this skills gap.”