Despite the importance of data skills in driving business outcomes, many businesses in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) lack adequate training for their employees. This is a major point of contention for APJ decision-makers and rank-and-file personnel polled by Forrester and Tableau in a recent study.
Almost 80% of decision-makers in the region (78% in Singapore) feel their department is successful in providing critical data skills to its employees. However, just about 40% of regional employees (and only 37% of Singapore employees) agree that their organization provides adequate training.
This discrepancy indicates that there is a disconnect between what decision-makers think is happening and what is actually happening. Businesses need to take action to close this gap and ensure that their employees have the data skills they need to be successful.
Companies in Singapore place high importance on data skills. 91% of decision-makers expect basic data literacy from employees in every department, including product, marketing, and sales. This is higher than the global average of 86%.
This expectation is driven by the fact that data skills are seen as critical for personal and organizational success. Almost 70% of employees in Asia Pacific and Japan (66% in Singapore) are predicted to use data heavily in their jobs by 2025, up from 38% (Singapore employees: 36%) in 2018.
However, despite acknowledging the importance of data skills, many businesses in the region are not investing in training their employees. Just 28% of businesses in Singapore provide data training to all employees, the lowest of any market examined internationally.
Furthermore, only 35% of surveyed employees in Singapore believe their organization has equipped them with the data skills they need. And when they do receive training, it's often for traditional data jobs like analytics and data science.
Small training investments today can have a big payoff down the line, according to Forrester. By upskilling their employees in data skills, businesses can improve performance, customer and employee satisfaction, and staff retention.
Employers know that data-skilled employees make better and faster decisions while being more productive and innovative. In Singapore, 86% of employees believe they make better decisions and 81% make faster decisions when they use data.
“We’ve seen a 96-fold return on our data investments. Data culture is more of a journey than a destination. Celebrate your wins along the way but always look to improve. Data’s value is the existential: the existence of your business,” said Clive Benford, data officer director, Jaguar Land Rover. “If you don’t become a data-driven business, I don’t think you’ll be here in 20 years. The long-term value is existence.”