The Data Skills Gap is Impeding Productivity

A staggering 9 out of 10 (93%) say their workforce is not achieving optimal productivity due to a lack of data skills. This was the finding from a new report by NTUC LearningHub, which surveyed more than 700 working professionals, including 200 business leaders.

Growing reliance on data

The report, “A view from the ground: Closing the data skills gap in the COVID-19 era and beyond” looked at both employers’ and employees’ views on the degree of reliance on data and business intelligence in Singapore. It also looks at perception around data-related competencies, hiring trends, preferences of businesses, and recommendations for closing the skills gap.

A prevalent skills gap was uncovered as employers identified the data-related skills which were necessary but lacking in their workforce. Employers voted data analysis (67%), data interpretation for decision making in business (50%), and data protection and risk management (49%) as the most necessary data skills for their organization. However, these skills were perceived as lacking within their companies by at least a third of employers.

Notably, almost all (94%) of employers surveyed said they have increased their reliance on data and business intelligence to make business decisions now as compared to a year ago.

“As companies are [forced] into transformation during this COVID era, employers have actively reassessed the workforce they need in order to navigate the new economy. The COVID-19 storm is far from over and all business leaders must work out their strategies in weathering this very turbulent and uncertain period ahead. In this complex business environment, data will help us a lot in supporting our intuition as we make difficult business decisions,” said Kwek Kok Kwong, CEO of LearningHub CEO.

The data skills gap is not for lack of trying. Singapore currently contributes at least SGD1 billion each year to the data analytics industry, according to the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). Separately, the National Research Foundation (NRF) has set aside SGD150 million to boost Singapore’s artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/AdrianHancu