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Data literacy needs more work

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We know this much: interpreting and applying data is a big part of improving the way schools function and monitoring how students are performing. It’s just that a lot of educators and Australian workers in general don’t know all that much about how it is done. 

The APAC Data Literacy Survey backs that up, one in five (20%) workers really know what they’re doing with data and 72% of senior executives still making decisions based on “gut feel”.

Almost two-thirds (65%) of Australian employees believe they have to deal with a higher volume of data at work than three years ago. In fact, the majority (72%) of workers are using data once a week (or more) in their current roles.

Workers who are data literate report that their expertise in the area helps in their jobs, 82% of data literates say they are performing very well at work, compared with under half (49%) of those that are not data literate and 91% agreed that data helps them do their job better.

Over a third (35%) of Australians admit to getting overwhelmed in their current job roles when reading, working, analysing and challenging data (vs. 49% regional average).

While a large percentage (66%) of Australians confirmed they would be willing to invest more time and energy into improving their data skills, this is lower than the regional average (72%).

“In today’s data driven economy, data literacy is as important as the ability to read and write. In fact, being able to read, work, analyse and argue with data is critical to helping us make better decisions. As a result, we are increasingly seeing these skills in high demand by employers across Australia and beyond,” said Jordan Morrow, Head of Data Literacy at Qlik a leading data analytics platform.

So we’re not great with data by and large, but there is a distinct paucity of education around data use and interpretation; 81% of graduate entry level employees do not classify themselves as data literate.

There is an online data literacy assessment tool provided by Qlik and the company makes free data literacy courses available from its site, here, making it a good place to start when updating data skills.

The research was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Qlik. The research surveyed 5,288 full time workers across Australia, Singapore, India, China and Japan, and was carried out between 30 January and 14 February 2018. The research is part of a larger study conducted with over 11,000 full time workers around the world.

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