Data skills trump degrees at hiring

Job seekers owning demonstrable experience with data might soon overtake those with data science degrees when it comes to the candidates global enterprises are seeking.

This is according to a major survey of global business decision makers commissioned by data and analytics firm Qlik on behalf of the Data Literacy Project.

Results show that three-fifths (59%) of both global and Asia Pacific 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.

Most businesses (63% globally and 57% in APAC) are actively looking for candidates in all parts of their organisation that can demonstrate their ability to use, work with and analyse data.

Qlik’s Data Literacy Index revealed 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 $320-$534 million for the surveyed organisations.

While not all business leaders surveyed were aware of how their firm remunerates data literate employees, Qlik’s survey revealed 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, analyse and argue with data.

Despite recognising 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.