Most Singapore employees are not confident in their data literacy skills
More than eight in 10 employees (84%) in Singapore are not fully confident in their data literacy skills and feel overwhelmed or unhappy when working with data, according to a study of 1,000 Singaporean employees by Accenture and Qlik, titled “The Human Impact of Data Literacy”.
The study also found that the gap between Singapore companies’ aspirations to be data-driven and their employees’ ability to create business value with data is costing S$5.1 billion in productivity annually due to procrastination and sick leave stem from stress around information, data and technology issues.
Employers lose an average of more than seven working days (56.5 hours) per employee. This is the second-highest time globally (after India with 69.5 hours) and significantly higher than the average of five working days (43 hours).
The research identified two ways in which the data literacy gap is impacting Singapore companies’ ability to thrive in the data-driven economy.
Firstly, despite nearly all surveyed employees (90%) recognising data as an asset, few are using it to inform decision-making. Only 26% believe they’re fully prepared to use data effectively, and just 16% are confident in their data literacy skills such as the ability to read, understand, question and work with data.
Secondly, a lack of data skills is shrinking productivity. A staggering 84% of employees report feeling overwhelmed or unhappy when working with data. And worryingly, 40% indicated that they will find an alternative method to complete the task without using data at all while 73% feel that data-overload has contributed to workplace stress, culminating in nearly half (47%) of the local workforce taking at least one day of sick leave.
“No one questions the value of data – but many companies need to re-invent their approach to data governance, analysis, and decision-making. This means ensuring that their workforce has the tools and training necessary to deliver on the new opportunities that data presents,” said Sanjeev Vohra, group technology officer and global lead for Accenture’s Data Business Group.
To succeed in the data revolution, business leaders must help employees become more confident and comfortable in using data insights to make decisions.
Singaporean employees who identify as data-literate are nearly 50% more likely to feel empowered and trusted to make better decisions. Furthermore, almost half (48%) of employees believe that data literacy training would make them more productive.