How Employees can Grab Better Opportunity with Data Literacy

By : |February 13, 2019 0

How could I get a better opportunity? Or How can I seek career growth in the current organization? These are some common questions that every employee thinks of.

Imagine an extremely common workplace scenario: your boss is on an extended leave. To you, as to most working professionals, this is an opportunity to demonstrate your readiness to assume greater responsibility by undertaking tasks outside of your current remit. If you manage to impress your boss’s boss with your hard work and talent, you stand a chance of furthering your prospects and accelerating your career growth.

There’s just one small challenge. Capitalising on this opportunity requires you to not only understand what your manager’s job profile is, but also the data that comes with it. This is the hurdle at which most professionals stumble.

Data literacy: The gap, the need, the opportunity

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According to the recent Qlik Global Data Literacy Survey, only 20% of working professionals across the world feel that they are data literate. India leads the pack – ahead of developed economies such as the US, the UK, and Japan – with 45% of its surveyed workforce considering themselves equipped with the requisite skills to read, interact with, analyse, and argue with data.

Arun Balasubramanian, Managing Director, Qlik India

Arun Balasubramanian, Managing Director, Qlik India

What this means is that, at best, less than one in two individuals are consider equipped to extract value from the information that they come across as part of their professional responsibilities. If we take into account the global average, the number drops down to one in five.

These numbers are very worrying, particularly in today’s data-driven age. We are currently witnessing an unprecedented data explosion, an explosion which is only going to get bigger with every passing year. In a 2016 report, IBM estimated that the world generated nearly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data on a daily basis. This data can be used to power business growth and optimise everyday operations. But how are these numbers and this information of consequence to you?

The data literate amongst you might have already hit on the answer: better career growth and better opportunity.

Contrary to popular belief, data is not and has never been a volumes game. By itself, information is redundant. It doesn’t drive any value if it isn’t acted upon. This is where data literacy comes into the picture. Data literate employees can analyse the information present to them, argue with, and interpret it within a given context to draw insights.

The answers to the what, why, and what next to create business value for employers and helps in distinguishing data literate professionals from their non-data literate peers. It is no coincidence that these professionals perform better, are more confident, and have more credibility at their workplace than their non-data literate peers.

But the true allure of data literacy lies beyond mere financial and professional gains. In an industry report published in May 2018, 80% of professionals surveyed in India were not satisfied with their jobs. Half of them live in perpetual fear of the dreaded pink slip, 40% said they were dissatisfied with their career growth opportunities, while 30% said they did not get enough recognition at the workplace.

Data literacy can play a major role in alleviating this alarming situation by empowering employees with relevant data skills. Discovering the insights and stories trapped within the data can not only in finding the answers that they need but also in finding the questions which someone without data literacy skills would have missed completely.

This can help new-age professionals to improve their job security, unlock better growth opportunities, and find more recognition for the work that they do – and therefore find greater satisfaction in their jobs.

Being literate was considered a very important parameter for success in the 20th Century. In the 21st Century, in this digital-first era of exponential data, success at the workplace will be determined by your level of data literacy. With more and more business leaders now putting their organisational data into the hands of their employees, the world is gearing up for a data re-evolution. The question you need to answer is: are you?

By Arun Balasubramanian, Managing Director, Qlik India

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