Data Literacy Survey Reveals Skills Gap

Just how data literate is the US? Well, not nearly as literate as it needs to be.

As the world continues to play catch up with its data literacy skills, we here at Qlik have been trying to gather as much information as we can to understand where individuals and organizations feel they are with their data literacy skills. Remember, data literacy is defined as the ability to read, work with, analyze, and argue with data. The need to develop skills within data literacy is imperative and vital for organizations to stay at the top of their game. In a Forbes article from 2017, it was said: “Increasingly, this data literacy divide will impeded organizations of all shapes and sizes from reaping higher rewards from their data investments.”

In a previous blog post, we addressed where European’s feel their data literacy comfort level is, now we want to understand where the United States feels its data literacy skills reside. In Qlik’s recent survey on data literacy in the United States, it was found about 1 out of 3 people in the United States feel data literate. That leaves such a large gap of those who do not feel data literate: about 67% of people within the United States do not feel data literate. Through the survey, some very interesting insight can be gained into the mind sets of individuals. When we look at individuals and their thinking with regards to data, we found that almost half of those surveyed in the United States feel they get overwhelmed at their current job when reading, working, analyzing, and arguing with data. With the vast amount of data being created today, and the growing need for organizations to be successful with that data, the high number of individuals who feel overwhelmed by data can be a strong wake-up call for organizations to start to build the right culture and training for individuals to become data literate. Remember, we don’t need everyone to be a data scientist, we need them to develop skills within the four key characteristics of data literacy.

Another alarming statistic that came from the survey was over 50% of those surveyed said they frequently make decisions on “gut feel” over informed insight. When you combine that number with the fact that around 66% said they must deal with a higher volume of data in their job roles than three years ago, and we can see the large gap that exists within data literacy. Here we see that many employees are still utilizing gut feel over the data that is coming into the organization. With the larger amount of data coming in, 66% said they must deal with more data in their role, that means the data is getting underutilized to make informed decisions.

Overall, our surveys across the world are showing that there is a large skills-gap within data literacy. We have seen great investments throughout the years in tools and technology, now it is time to ensure we make investments in the human side of things, in data literacy.

Our #DataLiteracy expert @analytics_time weighs in on the recent data literacy survey conducted in the US.


In this article:

Keep up with the latest insights to drive the most value from your data.

Get ready to transform your entire business with data.

Follow Qlik