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Less than 20% Businesses Encourage Employees To Become Data Confident

There is a gap between how companies perceive the importance and relevance of data, and how they are actively increasing workforce data literacy

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Large enterprises that have higher corporate data literacy experience $320- $534 million in a higher total market value of the business, according to a major academic study commissioned by Qlik, on behalf of the newly launched Data Literacy Project.

Despite a clear correlation between enterprise value and data literacy, there is a gap between how companies perceive the importance and relevance of data, and how they are actively increasing workforce data literacy. While 92 percent of business decisions makers believe it is important for employees to be data literate, just 17 percent report that their business significantly encourages employees to become more confident with data. 

Beyond having a data literate workforce, organizations must ensure these skills are used for decision making across the business to compete in the fourth industrial revolution. 

When correlated to measures of corporate performance, organizations that rank in the top third of the Data Literacy Index have 3 to 5 percent higher enterprise value.

Arun Balasubramanian, MD at Qlik India, concluded, “The world today is inundated with data, and yet organizations are struggling to utilize it to drive better decision-making. Despite India having the most data literate workforce globally, these skills could be underutilized – this could be due to a lack of adequate processes or training within the organization to use data.”

Lorin Hitt, Professor at Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania said, “This is the first time that data literacy has been measured on a company level, which includes not only the data skills of company employees but also the use of data for making decisions throughout the company. This is important because our research suggests that this broader concept of corporate data literacy represents a mutually reinforcing set of business practices that are associated with higher financial performance.”

Businesses Not Ready to Pay for Widespread Data Expertise

The majority of business decision makers feel it is vital for employees to be data literate, but just 24 percent of the global workforce reports being fully confident in their ability to read, work with, analyze and communicate with data.

Further aggravating this skills gap, while two-thirds of companies (63 percent) are planning on hiring more data literate employees, the onus is on the individual. Business leaders have been unwilling to commit resources to improve the data literacy of their workforce, with only 34 percent of firms currently providing data literacy training, and only 36 percent willing to pay higher salaries to employees who are data literate. 

Data Skills Are Not Leading to More Data-Driven Decision Making

Nearly all business leaders acknowledge that data is important to their industry (93 percent) and in how their company currently makes decisions (98 percent). Shockingly, just eight percent of firms have made major changes in the way the data is used over the past five years. 

In fact, data-driven decision making has the lowest score of the three dimensions of corporate data literacy measured. Even companies that have data-literate employees across every business unit are likely not turning data into useable information as effectively as possible.

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