Data literacy seen as most sought-after skill by 2030

Image courtesy of Qlik

One in every five (21%) employees believe their employer is preparing them for a more data-oriented and automated workplace, even if most business leaders predict an upheaval in working practices due to the rapid onset of artificial intelligence (AI), according to new research from Qlik. 

The data analytics firm commissioned Censuswide for a survey of 1,209 C-level executives and 6,197 global full-time employees in organisations of more than  50 employees in the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, France, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. This was done in October and November 2021.

Qlik said that with 35% of employees surveyed reporting they had changed jobs in the last 12 months because their employer wasn’t offering enough upskilling and training opportunities, there is a stark need to better upskill workforces to support the workplace transition that is already underway.

The study found that business leaders and employees alike predict that data literacy — defined as the ability to read, work with, analyze and communicate with data — will be the most in-demand skill by 2030.

Among executives, 85% believe digital literacy will become as vital in the future as the ability to use a computer is today.

Also, global employees surveyed report their use of data and its importance in decision-making has doubled over the past year. Meanwhile, 89% of executives now expect all team members to be able to explain how data has informed their decisions.

Every single business leader surveyed said they would offer a salary increase — at an average 26% raise — for candidates that could demonstrate their data literacy. 

Where organisations are increasing their data literacy training, the study found that it is primarily (58%( offered to those working in specific data related roles, such as data analysts and data scientists. 

Just one-in-10 offer this training to those in HR, finance and marketing (12%, 11% and 10% respectively) despite more than two-thirds of employees working in these functions stating data literacy is already necessary to fulfil their current role (70%, 74% and 67% respectively).

Over three-quarters (78%) of employees are instead investing their own time and money (64%) to plug the professional skills gap needed for the future enterprise.

“To become a data-driven company, where employees regularly use data and analytics to make better decisions and take informed actions, business leaders need to make investments in upskilling workers in every role to close the data literacy gap,” said Paul Barth, global head of data literacy at Qlik.