In The Future of Jobs Report 2018, the World Economic Forum (WEF) highlighted four specific technological advances that will be the key drivers for business growth between 2018 and 2022. Data analytics featured heavily in the report, with the WEF expecting 85% of respondents to enhance their adoption of user and entity big data analytics by 2022. Furthermore, the report predicted the demand for specialized new-age job profiles such as Data Analysts, Data Scientists, and Big Data Specialists to accelerate at a rapid pace.
This focus on data and analytics highlights how data science is becoming as one of the strongest buzzwords in the business ecosphere. The reason for this is quite obvious: according to the recent Qlik Global Data Literacy Index produced by Wharton School academics, organizations with higher data literacy scores can realize greater enterprise value worth an estimated US$300-$500 million. Greater levels of data literacy can also have a significant positive impact on other key business metrics, such as gross margin, return-on-assets, return-on-equity and return-on-sales.
Changing the game with Data: Why data literacy is becoming a must-have skill for jobseekers
The WEF report substantiated a well-accepted notion in the business domain: that the country’s job market is finally making a transition from conventional profiles such as software engineers and business analysts to more niche ones requiring highly-specialized skillsets. Considering that data has become the fundamental element of business decision-making, professionals with the ability to analyze, interpret, and use this data effectively are better placed to reach the top of the corporate totem pole. It is becoming clear that, while not everyone has to be a data scientist, everyone needs to be data literate.
Apart from the current job scenario, the increasing significance of data-related skill sets has been validated by professionals as well. According to an earlier Qlik research, 94% of professionals who employ data-related skills in their current jobs have enhanced their efficiency considerably. 82% of them further state that greater data literacy will give them more credibility in their workplace.
Data-skilled professionals also find it easier to look for better prospects, not only within their own country, but also on foreign shores; since 2017, out of the talent pool of data scientists that migrated to Singapore from overseas, 21.95% were from India. Additionally, data skills are giving a boost to a variety of other job opportunities, such as communications via data storytelling. Data literate professionals are needed to effectively communicate the data insights to various stakeholders, such as business owners and consumers.
Additionally, as more and more industries jump on the AI and machine-learning bandwagon, an adequately data literate workforce has become a necessity. The good news is that entrepreneurs are willing to invest more resources in improving the data skillset of their workforce, while more than 95% of professionals in India have expressed a great desire to upskill and cross-skill.
However, despite the fact that the overall numbers reflect tremendous growth, the current supply of talented data literate professionals is woefully short in supply. Qlik’s Global Data Literacy report further stated that almost half (48%) of professionals struggle to distinguish between data facts and misinterpretations.
Emerging markets such as India can lead the charge in driving a data-driven culture. This provides a real opportunity for those willing to upskill quickly to be data literate as they will be offered unparalleled opportunities for their own careers.
By Mr Arun Balasubramanian, Managing Director, Qlik India