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Lack in data skills creating greater challenges at work - report

By Shannon Williams
Tue 7 Jul 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Employees could do better at their jobs if they were more data literate, according to new research. 

The NTUC LearningHub Data Skills Report found a large majority of employees (92%) say that they could be able to do their job better if they were more data literate, while to a similar measure, 89% say they experience challenges at work due to the lack of data-related skillsets. 

The report, entitled 'A View From the Ground: Closing the Data Skills Gap in the Covid-19 Era and Beyond', features insights from IBM, Japanese tech conglomerate Softbank and analytics software company Qlik.

The report uncovers both employers' and employees' views on the degree of reliance on data and business intelligence in Singapore's business landscape, the general perception about the data-related competencies of the nation's workforce, hiring trends and preferences of businesses here, and recommendations for closing skills gaps in order for businesses and workers to remain competitive.

Among other challenges, employees have voiced that not being competent in data results in their inability to measure work outcomes (59%), becoming outdated on current and future business practices (56%) or inability to do their jobs well (55%). In addition, while employees voted Data Analysis (voted by 63%), Data Interpretation for Decision Making in Business (voted by 50%), and Data Protection and Risk Management (voted by 48%) as the most necessary data skills for their businesses, these skills were perceived as those in which they lack, as voted by 37%, 30% and 27% of employees, respectively.

When asked about how the lack of data skills impacted their careers, 87% of employees raised concerns such as a falling behind their colleagues in work performance (68%), becoming less useful to their companies (64%), and having lesser chance of a job promotion (57%).

"In this new decade, data literacy will evolve as a basic literacy skill for Worker 4.0 -- our future workers. Reading the report, more workers will be anxious about their data capabilities, but we are here to assure you that it is a learnable skill if you are willing to invest time and effort. It is not reserved for an elite few," says NTUC LearningHub CEO Kwek Kok Kwong.

"To make data literacy more accessible to all, we have been working with esteemed industry players such as Qlik, Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, and many more. Like learning all new things, it can be daunting in the beginning but taking the first step forward is a success in itself. If you are new to data and the many business benefits it brings, take this first step by reading the report, exploring the options and make the first commitment to learn this emerging core skill of the decade."

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