9 minute read

s k I ll I ng

Geoff ThoMAS

Data Literacy: An essential skill across all industries in 2022

The day is coming when data literacy will be so prevalent that everything that came before it will be a distant memory

While we’re in the midst of the “Great Reshuffle”, companies in the Asia Pacific and Japan region are reporting increased workforce volatility, with almost two-thirds (64%) of small and medium-sized enterprises reporting difficulties in coping with employee resignations, according to a SAP study released this April. Leaders are being misguided by the misconception that the need to hire has exceeded the growing need for specific skill sets, which could not be further from the truth. The key takeaway for businesses in 2022 is how data and analytics skills will continue to grow in importance and prominence.

Explicit requirements for these skills are expected among more job roles in 2022, including roles such as customer service, marketing, sales, and operations. Despite this, Qlik’s recent “Data Literacy: The Upskilling Evolution” report found that only 11% of employees are fully confident in their ability to work with data. As such, organisations that want to compete and remain driven by data, and not guesswork, should look toward data literacy to future proof their workforce. However, businesses cannot shoulder this alone. Schools and universities need to prepare new talent before they even walk through the door.

Obtaining the skills of the future

Do you remember the last time basic reading and writing skills were not required to get a job? Probably not. Likewise, the day is coming when data literacy will be so prevalent that everything that came before it will be a distant memory.

That day is not here yet, but as it is, businesses are attempting to do more with data. While few will

be expected to become data scientists, employers will start looking for people who are data-literate. For many jobs, data and analytics skills will be listed as explicit requirements, which will create a distinct advantage for applicants who possess these skills.

This isn’t about thinning the herd—managers genuinely want and need people who can read, analyse, and work with data. They will pay special attention to applicants’ abilities when hiring for roles across various departments. Human resource departments may even begin to track data and analytics skills for all prospective employees and ultimately lean in favour of data-literate candidates. These candidates can expect a higher salary too. According to our Data Literacy report, C-suite executives in the region, such as in Japan and Australia, are willing to offer an average annual salary increase of ¥1.28 million (USD9,981) and AUD23,600 (USD16,979) respectively for dataliterate applicants.

The good news for employees is that many companies will be eager to help their staff grow these skills by offering data literacy training as part of their retention and growth efforts.

Learning at the youngest age possible

Data literacy does not end at work, and for future generations, it should not begin there either. It would be a disservice to students to send them off into the workforce without first preparing them for an integral aspect of virtually any job imaginable. Many universities are already recognising that they must do their part and are adding data literacy to their curriculum to teach students about the importance of data literacy, why this skill is invaluable, and how it is becoming a critical career differentiator.

Furthermore, students of all ages need to understand how to read, write, and work with data at some point in the future. Primary schools and universities will evolve quickly to fulfil that need or risk missing a pivotal window during their students’ education. It is important for our children to be exposed to these concepts at the youngest age possible.

For instance, education institutions such as Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education (ITE)

The day is coming when data literacy will be so prevalent that everything that came before it will be a distant memory

have pledged to accelerate staff and student capabilities in these emerging technologies, by partnering with Qlik to set up a social media and data analytics lab. In addition, ITE and Qlik are also jointly exploring industry project opportunities that would complement the learning of data analytics for its students.

Highlighting the EQ

The work will not only include data literacy but also take a closer look at the EQ of those who apply. Researchers at Cornell University and the University of Toronto have shown a link between EQ and decision-making. Emotionally intelligent people are also better at enduring stress and making smart decisions. Given the importance of EQ, organisations have learned that technical experts without a growth mindset are less likely to excel. The same can be said for data architects who do not actively listen or analysts who do not collaborate well with others.

Collaboration and communication are essential and are continuing to increase in importance. To democratise data and analytics, ivory towers of expert data scientists must be transformed into diverse decision-making communities. EQ aspects are beginning to stand out as businesses refine their hiring strategies and better define what they are looking for in a candidate. Yes, we are in the midst of the “Great Reshuffle,” but top talent is still at a premium, and organisations will continue to be diligent in their search for the right type of toptier talent.

Hiring the right talent for years of success

Businesses need every advantage they can get to thrive in APAC’s highly competitive marketplace. Data does not simply level the playing field; it is the difference between companies that thrive and those that merely survive, which is why data and analytics skills will be essential for many jobs. Schools and universities must do their part and help prepare the next generation for the future of work. However, smart organisations are not waiting around and have already started to deploy their own programs to ensure their staff is ready to use data. When data skills are paired with high EQ, employers acquire the rare talent they need to succeed for years to come.

about the author

GEoff tHoMas is Senior Vice President, APAC at Qlik.

Stay ahead of the trends to discover possibilities: Enquero's Marietta Harvey

‘Disruptive innovation relies on untapped markets to create more convenient and affordable products and services. Leaders of tomorrow must be open to absorbing and carefully experimenting with disruptive innovations,’ advised Marietta harvey, Vice President and Global Head of Employee Experience at Enquero-a Genpact company

Marietta Harvey is the Vice President and Global Head of Employee Experience at digital transformation solutions company Enquero, a Genpact company. She comes with over 25 years of experience as a people leader who fully understands the value of company culture and is well-versed in how to create, embody, and nurture a culture of excellence. The breadth of her experience combines the execution of proven best practices while incorporating the dynamic needs of the constantly disrupted and evolving business models. Marietta built Enquero's scalable human resources functions from the ground up. Prior to joining this company, she helped shape start-ups, distributed, and multi-site global business organisations by leveraging human resources business models for companies like Dell, Netformx, Sybase, and Siemens.

In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Marietta shares her take on how organisations can thrive and lead innovation in the face of business disruptions.

Digital transformation opens a space for innovation as well as disruption. How can leaders today prepare for business disruptions?

The business world is forever evolving, driven by new technology, and shifting customer preferences. And industry leaders need to stay ahead of the trends to discover possibilities. Disruptive innovation relies on untapped markets to create more convenient and affordable products and services. Leaders of tomorrow must be open to absorbing and carefully experimenting with disruptive innovations. Before jumping on the bandwagon to try something new, it is essential to evaluate an enterprise's current state and its people's potential while clearly defining the purpose for enthusiastic buy-ins.

Building a culture that is ready to incubate such tech disruptions is necessary to ensure that your digital transformation initiative takes off the ground right.

As the HR function becomes more digitised, what are the significant challenges that might come up, and how can leadership address them efficiently in the era of hybrid work?

When disruptive leaders are at the forefront of driving digital transformation, fostering creativity within a team can be more complex because it relies on people’s comfort level with technology and collaboration. Teamwork and collaboration have always been complex issues. The bottom line is that technology offers advantages, flexibility, and mobility. Leaders will need various talents and competencies to lead a hybrid working model. Businesses will need to adapt their work procedures to a hybrid working paradigm to sustain employee engagement and productivity.

Leaders must undergo a paradigm shift to acquire skills, such as making analytical decisions, learning new technologies, and adopting them effectively. Business leaders require robust emotional intelligence to confront remote leadership challenges and the capacity to create the right attitude within teams to foster autonomy, responsibility and learning agility.

How can technologies be designed to impact the softer aspects of the workplace, such as work culture, wellbeing, collaborative practices, and even employee engagement?

We are witnessing the rise of technology platforms designed to implement an innovative culture and improve the employee experience. Integrating technology and culture can help in a clear line of communication and empower employees to meet an organisation’s expectations. Access to accurate, real-time data allows managers to comprehend their team’s work habits, improve efficiency and transparency, and encourage goodwill practices within an organisation for employee retention.

Employees can work most effectively and productively through performance management tools that

Business leaders require robust emotional intelligence to confront remote leadership challenges and the capacity to create the right attitude within teams
As a leader, you should incorporate methods of creating functional, effective, versatile, and userfriendly technological platforms for organisational success

enhance communication, collaboration, and cooperation. HR departments can utilise a simple survey application to gather employee feedback and ideas for improvement while measuring output metrics. Companies can implement flexible, employee-centric work practices without losing performance through workplace optimisation tools.

A culture of innovation is what every organisation aspires to build. How do digital solutions today create greater spaces for innovation and reimagining the future of work?

Today’s workplace transformation has blurred the boundaries of physical and virtual spaces to increase opportunities for collaboration and innovation. Digital solutions provide employees with a unified experience across geographies and help them balance life and work.

Organisations are now using various new-age tech tools such as Cloud app services, IoT sensors, stateof-the-art video conferencing tools, connected devices, and applications. These tech choices nurture a diverse and inclusive culture that can boost productivity and deliver meaningful impact.

What are some words of advice that you would like to share with businesses leading their digital transformation journeys in today’s business landscape?

Digital transformation has created some excellent possibilities for leaders in today's economy. Integrating digital transformation efficiently and flexibly in all areas is advisable while keeping human centricity the primary metric. As a leader, you should incorporate methods of creating functional, effective, versatile, and user-friendly technological platforms for organisational success. Additionally, strategising to build a sustainable organisation for the future and restructuring the organisation should be a determining factor. Businesses must ensure a flexible workforce, a comprehensive benefits package, a flexible and collaborative work environment, and opportunities for advancement for all employees.