Hand Knowledge Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay (Geralt)In January 2006 Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton wrote “It’s time to start an evidence-based movement in the ranks of managers” in an HBR article entitled “Evidence-Based Management.” Fourteen years later Tableau has uncovered evidence that the movement is finally becoming mainstream in the UK.

It has carried out research in the UK that found 50% of the just over 1,100 respondents indicated that they would not consider roles are organisations that are not data driven. Tableau will release the full research findings in several tranches. The research was carried out by Censuswide.

James Eiloart, SVP EMEA, Tableau (source Tableau)
James Eiloart, SVP EMEA, Tableau (source Tableau)

On this first insight, James Eiloart, Senior Vice President EMEA, Tableau said: “For a growing number of UK’s employees, data has become a recruitment deal-breaker. Our findings reflect a sincere desire among knowledge workers to join organisations that value the ability to access and analyse data, and who encourage their staff to become more data fluent.”

Training is also critical

Employment is no longer just about the role and the salary. Potential employees want to know about the culture and especially the attitude towards learning. This aligns with Lynda Gratton’s theory of the “multi stage life”. No longer do people consider life in the three stages of education, career and retirement. Instead organisations need to consider that employees need to continuously learn. They may also take sabbaticals more frequently, or move company more frequently searching for different experiences.

The survey found that 84% of respondents thought offering digital and data analytics skills training made employers more attractive. This is not just from amongst the Gen Z respondents. 73% of employees over 55 were in agreement. With retirement age seeming to slip further away with each government, it is no wonder that the older workforce realise they need to modernise their skill set.

It is not just for the sake of the employee though. The survey also found that 90% believed that improving workforce skills was vital for organisational success. Eiloart  added: “Data-driven organisations are, by their nature, constantly seeking to gain insights and reveal ways to improve themselves and gain a competitive edge. The best employees are no different. They will increasingly gravitate to businesses with a strategy which emphasises the development of data and analytics skills which are vital to future success.”

 A misalignment of intent and delivery

The survey polled both white collar employees and their leaders although Tableau has not yet revealed detailed demographic information about the survey. 80% of business agreed that training or learning and development (L&D) around digital and data analytics are valuable. However, only 62% have conducted training over the last year. This is despite 40% believing it to be beneficial to employee engagement and retention.

It has not said what other education investment is being undertaken. Different organisations have different priorities and training budgets only go so far. Without access to the question set and wider data responses it is difficult to analyse further.  Enterprise Times has asked Tableau to see more of the data both for the UK and further afield and will follow up with a further article.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

It is disappointing that Tableau has not revealed more information. However, it is becoming commonplace to drip feeding news from reports over time. With this snippet of findings, Tableau will hope that organisations look to the market leader for inspiration on education. In fact. Tableau already offers several paid for and free education sources. It has free training videos, live training, classroom training and elearning available. It also offers a certification program that enables employees to demonstrate expertise.

As it reveals more insights from the survey, it will be interesting to see if there are any surprises. What is also missing are the trends using previous years’ data to see how things have changed.

The question posed in the title is not fully answered here and is probably not the reality that was expected in 2006. However, it seems that companies, both employees and leadership, are waking up to the necessity of being ready for a world where decisions are more data driven than ever before. What is clear is that if organisations want to employ data aware staff they need to be data aware themselves. They also need to offer training to retain employees.


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