Global Enterprises Prefer Practical Skills over Post-Grads

Global Enterprises Prefer Practical Skills Over Post-Grads

September 9, 2019

According to the Data Literacy Project survey commissioned by data and analytics firm Qlik, Job seekers with demonstrable data experience may soon be preferred over those with data science degrees.

Almost two-thirds (59%) of both global and APAC enterprises surveyed ranked prior job experience or a case study interview – where a candidate is presented with and must solve an example business problem to demonstrate their data skills – as the top indicator of a candidate’s data literacy.

By contrast, only 18% globally and 15% in APAC viewed a Bachelor or Master degree in science – let alone data science – or even a Doctorate degree as its primary consideration when hiring.

This means the opportunity to take advantage of improved career prospects and salaries associated with data literacy is not limited to those with degrees in data science or STEM subjects.

The findings of this survey indicate a wider trend identified by Glassdoor that an increasing number of technology companies are ditching the degree in favor of these skills helping candidates get their foot in the door.

Actively Seeking Data Decision Makers

Most businesses (63% globally and 57% in APAC) are actively looking for candidates in all parts of their organization that can demonstrate their ability to use, work with and analyze data – presenting a good opportunity for those who can demonstrate these valuable skills.

It is estimated that candidates with a foundational understanding of data and analytics will account for one-third of the job market, with a projected increase of 110,000 positions by 2020 – a 14% increase since 2015 according to IBM.

This may be unsurprising given the massive growth opportunity for data literate organizations – those with higher levels of individual data skills, data dispersion across the enterprise, and data decision making.

Qlik’s Data Literacy Index claims large enterprises that are more data literate experience a 3 to 5% higher enterprise value (the total market value of the business), which represented an additional USD 320- 534 million for the surveyed organizations.

DSA (Data Science and Analytics) professions – which includes all data-informed roles from data scientists and data analysts, to business analysts and data-enabled marketing managers – are the hardest to fill in the entire market, typically remaining open for 45 days.

With a crisis affecting the entire data skills spectrum, and notably just 24% of global employees confident in their data literacy abilities, these highly sought-after skills can help people become more valuable to employers and translate into higher personal income.

While not all business leaders surveyed were aware of how their firm remunerates data literate employees, Qlik’s survey claims that 75% of those up to speed on their company’s policy reported paying higher salaries to employees with the ability to read, work with, analyze and argue with data.

According to Qlik Head of Data Literacy Jordan Morrow, the study’s findings are unmistakable. He says the career benefits associated with data literacy represent a universal opportunity.

“Organizations are increasingly understanding the value is not in having data, but transforming their data into value to make better decisions – and we’re seeing this increased appreciation translating into greater opportunities for data-literate individuals. We hope these findings will encourage those at every stage of their career to embark upon learning or improving their own data skills so they can start reaping its rewards,” says Morrow.

Companies lag on upskilling employees

Despite recognizing the value of on-the-job experience and data certifications, 50% of companies globally said they don’t provide data literacy training to their own employees. Only 34% of decision makers globally and 36% in APAC state that they have programs in place.

According to PSB Research Data Literacy Index survey, this is despite 78% of global employees and 72% of APAC employees saying they would be willing to invest more time and energy into improving their data skill sets.

Those individuals motivated to pursue their own upskilling have the opportunity to supercharge their career and unlock new opportunities – particularly as data grows in importance across all enterprises.

Eighteen percent (18%) of business decision makers globally and 21% in APAC said that a data-skills certification – something that can be earned well after college or formal education – was the best indicator of a candidate’s data literacy and demonstrated the ability to use the techniques most required today.

This means anyone that invests in improving their data skills – no matter what existing qualifications – can access more career opportunities associated with data literacy.

According to Nationwide Building Society Chief Data Officer Lee Raybould, prior job experience emerged as the most important indicator of a job candidate’s ability to read, work with, analyze and argue with data.

“What we look for are people who are curious and inquisitive, have a passion for doing the right thing, and are open to using data to find insights that support better business outcomes. The volume and variety of data is constantly growing, and the insights it can unlock to allow firms to be more successful is incredible. But you need people who are prepared to engage with data, and to gain an understanding of how to use and interpret it to support decision making no matter what their job role. That’s why, in my view, democratizing data in an easily consumable way and encouraging people in all parts of your firm to upskill and feel comfortable with data will be key to future success,” says Raybould.

According to Nemours Children’s Health System Manager of Enterprise Rishi Muchhala, making decisions on the right data at the right time is critical to providing the right care programs for patients, at the same standard and quality of treatment.

“We need our doctors, nurses and hospital managers to all be able to use data to make decisions – and we certainly couldn’t expect them all to have data science degrees on top of their medical qualifications. We’d have no team! Instead, we look for people with previous experience with data or the desire to understand how using data could help them. With our Citizen Developer and Analyst program, including our Data Swagger education sessions, we can support them in developing those skills and applying those skills to their work,” says Muchhala.

To support individuals who want to expand and evidence their data literacy skills, Morrow says Qlik offers an Academic Program to drive data literacy amongst students before they enter the work world. Qlik also recently launched a first-of-its-kind e-learning program for non-experts that awards a certification in data literacy.

Qlik claims its key elements of the program is available free of charge via the Data Literacy Project, a global community dedicated to igniting richer discussion and developing the tools we need to shape a confident and successful data literate society.

The Data Literacy Index results summary can be found here.

For more information on how businesses can start their own data literacy revolution, join the Data Literacy Project at org.

Ed. Qlik says the survey was conducted by PSB Research in the period of June 27 through July 18, 2018. Business decision makers were selected from global publicly traded companies, with at least 500 employees and which represented a wide range of industries including banking and financial services, manufacturing, retail, transportation, healthcare, energy, construction, utilities, and communications. The total number of interviews conducted was 604: 200 in US and Europe, 204 in Asia.


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