Woman Metaverse VR Image by Reto Scheiwiller from Pixabay Qlik has published a report that looks at the state of data literacy across several markets, including the UK, USA, Germany, France, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. The report, “Data Literacy: The Upskilling Evolution”, found employees believe data literacy will be the most in-demand skill by the end of the decade (38%). That was followed by working with AI and machine learning (29%) and data science (24%).

However, only 11% of employees are fully confident in their data literacy skills. The US (23%), Australia and New Zealand (23%) are the most confident, with the UK slightly above average (13%). Japan (5%) and France (7%) are the least confident. However, those low figures may be due to the definition of data literacy that is understood in those countries.

The research, conducted by Censuswide, includes findings from a survey of 1,209 C-level executives and 6,197 full-time global employees in organisations of 50+ employees.

Paul Barth, Global Head of Data Literacy, Qlik
Paul Barth, Global Head of Data Literacy, Qlik

The report is 36 pages long and begins with a foreword by Paul Barth, Global Head of Data Literacy, Qlik. He notes: “The immediate need for digital upskilling has been recognized, and enterprises, governments and schools around the world are working to close the gap. But there is far less appreciation of the need for data literacy – the ability to read, analyze, work and communicate with data.”

It is divided up into key findings and four other sections:

  • Fueling Enterprise Growth Through Data Literacy
  • Data Now: Leading with Literacy
  • Data Evolution: Interactive, Proactive, Active
  • Take Action: Leading an Active Data Culture

What is in the report

The key findings indicate that there is also a divide between the C-Suite and employees. While 89% of leaders expect team members to explain how data has informed their decisions, 45% say they still rely on gut decisions. With only 11% confident in their data literacy skill, this is an issue.

The problem is also getting worse. Employees say that data has doubled in the last 12 months. Leaders are recognising the issue. 85% say they believe data literacy will be vital in the future.

With more data will come the emergence of new roles. More than 99% of the C-Suite believe that new roles will emerge over the next ten years. These could include Chief Automation Off­icer, Chief Metaverse O­fficer, Head of Gamification, Workplace Environmental Architect and an Immersion Counsellor.

For employees, data literacy is a massive carrot. In the US, workers expect to increase their salary by 20% ($11,000) if they can demonstrate data literacy. In the UK that figure is £7,600, Germany €12,700 ad France only €8,250. Employees are already seeking training in other firms, with 35% having moved in the last year and 45% saying they would change jobs if they could get better training.

The main report

Each section of the report looks at different aspects of data literacy. Most sections also include quotes from respected contributors, including thought leaders and senior executives of Qlik and other businesses.

The bulk of the report highlights existing data literacy issues and urges organisations to do something about them. There are some other useful insights drawn from the survey data. The authors argue that firms need to aim for a state of Active Intelligence. This is where the firm uses real-time data analysis to trigger immediate action. It is not the case of collecting data, analysing it and then acting but combining the first two steps.

Kevin Hanegan, Chief Learning Officer at Qlik and Chair of the Advisory Board for the Data Literacy Project, calls business leaders to make changes. He commented: “The role that business leaders play in inspiring change cannot be underestimated – particularly when it comes to something as integral as decision-making.

“Creating a culture of informed action means shedding ages old practices, such as the most senior person in the room taking the final decision. Leaders need to inspire their employees with the humility to put the insights first.”

Embedding Active intelligence can make a difference. Qlik is citing a study by IDC and Qlik on the benefits of adopting data management and analytics. That report showed an average 75% increase in profits, revenue and customer satisfaction and loyalty.

A future with Metaverse?

Qlik believes that the Metaverse is the future. It quotes Gerd Leonhard, Futurist and Author: “Over the next 10 years, we’re going to develop tools that are absolutely mind-boggling for virtuality. Virtualization is what I call a mega-shift; systems are getting smart and eventually there’ll be no difference whether I’m here or there, in the office or a virtual meeting room.”

With the huge investments by Facebook and Microsoft, can any firm be left behind? For proof, it notes how Hyundai is already using VR to bring design teams together. It argues that employees need to be ready for the age of Active Intelligence by training themselves or seeking companies that will train them.

How to get to a state of Active Intelligence

In closing, the authors propose five goals that organisations should aim for.

  • Champion a data-literate culture supported by Active Intelligence systems
  • Democratize the right data through tools and literacy
  • Embrace perpetual learning to keep pace
  • Promote trust in data
  • Harness data for continual improvement and positive change

Elif Tutuk, VP of Innovation & Design at Qlik. “We often hear people talk about how employees need to understand how Artificial Intelligence will change how they complete their role, but more importantly we need to be helping them develop the skills that enable them to add value to the output of these intelligent algorithms. Data literacy will be critical in extending workplace collaboration beyond human-to-human engagements, to employees augmenting machine intelligence with creativity and critical thinking.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

The report highlights yet again that data is important, and data literacy is needed to understand that data. It is a message that companies are starting to heed. What is disappointing about this report is that it does not show the trends emerging in data literacy over the last few years. Has the message been getting through? Probably, yes, is the answer, but it would have been useful to identify how things have evolved.

Organisations are adopting VR in more and more scenarios. However, will it become mainstream? Will the Metaverse take off in a way that Second Life never quite did? Qlik believes the future is fully digital.

This well-written report is based on a rich data set from a sample size that cannot be ignored. In contrast, some findings are open to interpretation, such as the regional data literacy statistics and salary increases. It is a worthwhile read with some surprising findings.

Qlik has coined the term Active Intelligence, but it could also be applied to other solutions. However, it is an apt description of where businesses need to focus their efforts for data and analytics. Qlik will also host a webinar on April 12th about Active Intelligence.


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