More and more employers are seeking talent that have the ability to read, work with, analyse, and argue with data, otherwise known as data literacy.
However, worryingly, the majority of the Australian workforce lack these skills. New research by Qlik and Accenture has found only one in five in Australia’s working population are fully confident in their data literacy skills.
What’s more, low levels of data literacy is impacting Australians’ abilities to do their jobs effectively. Data and information overload is contributing to workplace stress, culminating in nearly one-third of the workforce taking at least one day of sick leave.
For businesses, this lost time due to sick leave and procrastination ultimately equates to $13.8 billion in lost productivity each year.
The reality is data is an integral part of business today and will continue to be. In fact, according to job-hunting website Indeed, nine of the top 10 data job titles offer six-figure salaries.
So if you’re looking for a six-figure salary, becoming data literate and having data analytics skills could be your golden ticket.
5 steps to becoming data literate
The good news is there are a number of steps you can take, both while at work and in your own time, to become data literate and edge closer to earning that six-figure salary:
Ask questions. It sounds simple, but by starting to ask questions and interrogating the “facts” and information that is provided, you’ll begin to think and consider data all the time. Remember, you’ve got to begin somewhere, and this is a great place to start.
Identify areas where you need support. Take a step back and look at your current role and pinpoint certain areas where you might be struggling. Ask yourself, “can data provide support here?” and, if so, ask for the data.
Be the data pioneer your business desperately needs. Make a business case to your employer, urging them to drive a culture of data literacy. Not only will it show your employer the initiative you have, but it will lead to more resources (e.g. internal training sessions, data analytics tools, etc.) being made available to help you and your team on your data literacy journey.
Combine data sets. By doing so, you’ll find deeper insights that can be used to inform decisions, ultimately leading to increased revenue for the business or lead-generation.
By being able to show your employer that your skills have directly had a positive impact on the business’ objectives, you’ll make yourself an extremely valuable asset.
Take external courses. There are a number of external courses available you can take to improve your data literacy skills. For example, there are 20 free courses available at The Data Literacy Project that will allow you to harness your skills so you’re well-equipped for the workplace.
Data literate workers are in high-demand and with employers unable to fill the current quota, this is a golden opportunity.
By not only becoming data literate, but someone that relishes the chance to tackle data-driven tasks, you’ll make yourself a rare commodity for organisations as they strive to get ahead of their competitors, with data.
Geoff Thomas is Senior Vice President APAC at Qlik.
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