80% of APAC employees lack confidence in data literacy skills

Qlik announced the results from its APAC Data Literacy Survey, revealing an escalating skills gap and troubling lack of enablement by employers is preventing those in the workforce from making strategic, data-driven decisions. In APAC, of over five thousand full time employees surveyed, only one-in-five (20%) employees feel confident in their data literacy skills (i.e. the ability to read, work with, analyze and argue with data)despite growing pressure to use data within the workplace.

Strong link between having a good grasp of data and job performance

There are rising expectations to use data at work with the majority (71%) of APAC workers using data once a week (or more) in their current job roles and two thirds (66%) saying that they have to work with a higher volume of data today compared to three years ago. Employees across APAC acknowledge the value of data and data literacy in their roles:

  • 90% agreed that data helps them do their job better
  • 78% think higher data literacy would enhance their credibility in the workplace
  • 72% believe data literacy would increase their value at work

“With more data being created today than ever before, data literacy has now become as important as the ability to read and write. It adds weight to our arguments and helps us to make better decisions. It is no wonder then that almost nine in ten of data literates say they are performing very well at work, compared to one in three of those that are not data literate,” said Paul Mclean, Data Literacy Evangelist, APAC at Qlik.

Lack of support for those who are willing to learn

Across the region, there is not enough being done to support workers with training and education initiatives that accelerate data literacy skills:

  • 49% admitted to feeling overwhelmed when reading, working with, analyzing and challenging data
  • 81% of workers do not strongly believe that they have had adequate training to be data literate
  • 89% of graduate entry level employees do not classify themselves as data literate, demonstrating a new age skills gap entering the workforce

On the other hand, the majority (72%) 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.

Mclean commented, “We can see a clear gap across APAC whereby business leaders are demanding that their employees leverage data day-to-day to drive actionable insights. At the same time however, there is a noticeable gap in the level of support provided to empower employees with the skills and training required to succeed. The assumption that all employees are equally data literate is a dangerous one that could impact strategic decisions down the line.”

India leading the way in APAC

  • India is leading the way with the most data literates (45% vs. regional average of 20%) while in Japan only 6% of workers classify themselves as data literate
  • C-Suites and Directors in India (64%), Australia (39%) and Singapore (31%) are most confident about their data literacy levels
  • Older workers (55+ years old) in India (32%) and Australia (20%) are more data literate than those in other countries within the region
  • Employees in India (88%), China (76%) and Singapore (75%) are most empowered by their employers to access data (i.e. they have access to the data they need, are proficient in working with data and feel empowered by their employers to use it)

“Both employers and employees need to take ownership and be more proactive in bridging this skills gap. Companies that are on the forefront of improving data literacy will be able to capitalize on the Analytics Economy,” concluded Mclean.

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