Job-seekers owning demonstrable experience with data may soon overtake those with data science degrees when it comes to openings in international enterprises, according to a major survey of global business decision-makers commissioned by data and analytics firm Qlik, on behalf of the Data Literacy Project.
Almost two-thirds (59 per cent) of both global and APAC enterprises surveyed ranked prior job experience or a case study interview (where candidates are tasked with solving hypothetical business problems) as the top indicator of a candidate’s data literacy. By contrast, only 18 per cent globally and 15 per cent in APAC viewed a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in science — let alone data science — or even a Doctorate degree as a 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. This follows a wider trend identified by Glassdoor that an increasing number of technology companies are ditching the degree in favour of these skills, helping candidates get their foot in the door.
Most businesses (63 per cent globally and 57 per cent in APAC) are actively looking for candidates who can demonstrate their ability to use, work with and analyse data. Indeed, those with a foundational understanding of data and analytics will account for one-third of the job market, with a projected increase of 110,000 positions by 2020, a 14 per cent increase since 2015, according to IBM.
This is perhaps unsurprising given the massive growth opportunity for data literate organisations, those with higher levels of individual data skills, data dispersion across the enterprise, and data decision-making. Qlik’s Data Literacy Index revealed that large enterprises, which are more data literate, experience a 3 to 5 per cent higher enterprise value (the total market value of the business), representing an additional USD 320- 534 million for the surveyed organisations.
But DSA (Data Science and Analytics) jobs, which include all data-informed roles, from data scientists and data analysts to business analysts and data-enabled marketing managers, are the hardest to fill, typically remaining open for 45 days.
With a crisis affecting the entire data skills spectrum, and notably just 24 per cent of global employees confident in their data literacy abilities, these highly sought-after skills can help people become more valuable to employers and translate into higher personal income.
While not all business leaders surveyed were aware of how their firm remunerates data literate employees, Qlik’s survey revealed that 75 per cent 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 engage with data.
Despite recognising the value of on-the-job experience and data certifications, 50 per cent of companies globally said they don’t provide data literacy training to their own employees. Only 34 per cent of decision-makers globally and 36 per cent in APAC state they have programs in place. This is despite 78 per cent of global employees and 72 per cent of APAC employees saying they would be willing to invest more time and energy into improving their data skill sets.
Those individuals motivated to pursue their own upskilling have the opportunity to supercharge their career and unlock new opportunities, particularly as data grows in importance across all enterprises. Eighteen percent (18 per cent) of business decision-makers globally and 21 per cent in APAC said that a data-skills certification (something that can be earned well after college or formal education) was the best indicator of a candidate’s data literacy and demonstrated the ability to use the techniques most required today.