Source: Data Literacy Index, PSB Research business decision maker survey

Global enterprises hiring practical data skills over data science degrees 

Global study, commissioned by Qlik on behalf of the Data Literacy Project, highlights immense career opportunity of upskilling to understand and work with data

Job seekers with demonstratable experience of data might soon overtake those with data science degrees when it comes to the candidates global enterprises are seeking, according to a major survey of global business decision makers commissioned by data and analytics firm Qlik, on behalf of the Data Literacy Project.

Almost two-thirds (59%) of global enterprises surveyed ranked prior job experience or a case study interview, where a candidate is presented with and must solve an example business problem to demonstrate their data skills, as the top indicator of a candidate’s data literacy. By contrast, only 18% viewed a Bachelor or Master degree in science – let along data science - or even a Doctorate degree as its primary consideration when hiring.

This means that the opportunity to take advantage of the improved career prospects and salaries associated with data literacy is not limited to those with degrees in data science or STEM subjects. This follows a wider trend identified by Glassdoor ranking that an increasing amount of technology companies are ditching the degree in favor of these skills to help candidates get their foot in the door.

Actively seeking data decision makers

Most businesses (63% globally, 68% in Europe) are actively looking for candidates that can demonstrate their ability to use, work with and analyse data in all parts of their organisation – presenting a good opportunity for those who can demonstrate these valuable skills. Indeed, data-driven decision makers that have a foundational understanding of data and analytics will account for one-third of the job market for those with data skills, with a projected increase of  110,000 position by 2020 - that equates a 14% increase since 2015, according to IBM.

This is perhaps unsurprising given the massive growth opportunities for data literate businesses (those with higher levels of individual data skills, data dispersion across the enterprise, and data decision making). Qlik’s Data Literacy Index revealed large enterprises that are more data literate experience a 3 to 5% higher enterprise value (the total market value of the business), which represented an additional £262-$438 million for the surveyed organisations.

But DSM (Data Science and Analytics) professions - which includes all data-informed roles from data scientists and data analysts, to business analysts and data-enabled marketing managers -are the hardest to fill in the entire market, typically remaining open for 45 days.


With a crisis affecting the entire data skills spectrum, with notably just 24% of the global employees confident in their data literacy skills, these highly sought-after skills can help people become valuable to their employers and translate into higher personal income.

While not all business leaders surveyed were aware of how their firm remunerates data literate employees, Qlik’s survey revealed that 75% of those up to speed on their company’s policy reported paying higher salaries to employees with that have the ability to read, work with, analyze and argue with data.

Companies lagging on investing in their own workforce

However, despite recognising the value of on-the-job experience and data certifications, 50% of companies said they don’t provide data literacy training to their own employees, with only 34% of decision makers stating they have programs in place. This is despite 78% of global employees saying they would be willing to invest more time and energy into improving their data skill sets.*

Those individuals motivated to pursue their own upskilling have the opportunity to supercharge their career and unlock new opportunities – particularly as data grows in importance across all enterprises.

Eighteen percent (18%) of business decision makers said that a data-skills certification – something that can be earned well after college or formal education – was the best indicator of a candidate’s data literacy and demonstrated the ability to use the techniques most required today.

This means anyone that invests in improving their data skills – no matter what existing qualifications – can access more career opportunities associated with data literacy.

“What we look for are people who are curious and inquisitive, have a passion for doing the right thing, and are open to using data to find insights that support better business outcomes”, said Lee Raybould, Chief Data Officer at Nationwide Building Society.

“The volume and variety of data is constantly growing, and the insight it can unlock to allow firms to be more successful is incredible, but, you need people who are prepared to engage with data, and to gain an understanding of how to use and interpret it to support decision making no matter what their job role. That why, in my view, democratizing data in an easily consumable way and encouraging people in all parts of your firm to upskill and feel comfortable with data will be key to future success.”

“Making decisions on the right data at the right time is critical to providing the right care programs and ensuring all our patients receive the same standard and quality of treatment. We need our doctors, nurses and hospital managers to all be able to use data to make decisions – and we certainly couldn’t expect them all to have data science degrees on top of their medical qualifications. We’d have no team! Instead, we look for people with previous experience with data or the desire to understand how using data could help them. With our Citizen Developer and Analyst program, including our Data Swagger education sessions, we can support them in developing those skills and applying those skills to their work,” commented Rishi Muchhala, Manager of Enterprise Intelligence at Nemours Children’s Health System

Jordan Morrow, Head of Data Literacy at Qlik and Chair of the Data Literacy Project, commented:

“The study’s findings are unmistakable – the career benefits associated with data literacy are a universal opportunity. Organisations are increasingly understanding the value is not in having data, but transforming their data into value to make better decisions – and we’re seeing this increased appreciation translating into greater opportunities for data-literate individuals.”

“We hope these findings will encourage those at every stage of their career to embark upon learning or improving their own data skills so they can start reaping its rewards,” he continued.

To support those individuals that want to expand and evidence their data literacy skills, Qlik offers an Academic Program to drive data literacy amongst students, before they enter the world of work. It also recently launched a first-of-its-kind e-learning program for non-experts that awards a certification in data literacy.

Qlik has made key elements of this program available free of charge via the Data Literacy Project, the global community dedicated to igniting richer discussion and developing the tools we need to shape a confident and successful data literate society.

About the research

Business decision maker survey - The survey was conducted by PSB Research in the period of June 27 through July 18, 2018. Business decision makers were selected from global publicly traded companies, with at least 500 employees and which represented a wide range of industries including banking and financial services, manufacturing, retail, transportation, healthcare, energy, construction, utilities, and communications. The total number of interviews conducted was 604: 200 in US and Europe, 204 in Asia.

Corporate Data Literacy scores - The measure of corporate data literacy was established by IHS Markit and a Professor from the Wharton School. It lies on a continuum based on (1) the data skills of the employees (human capital) (2) data-driven decision making and (3) data skill dispersion (how widespread is the use of data throughout the organization). A survey was designed to measure the three dimensions of corporate data literacy. For each question a scale was developed from the categorical responses and the z-score computed to standardize responses across all indicators in order to aggregate them. The overall corporate data literacy score is computed as the sum of the three pillar scores. For the global sample, the distribution of CDL scores range from a low of 0 to a high of 100.

Measures of Firm Performance - The corporate value can be interpreted as the percentage difference in enterprise value of the organization for a one standard deviation difference in the corporate data literacy score, holding fixed all other assets of the firm. The analysis of performance was completed using public financial data for the surveyed companies. The result is statistically significant at conventional levels, and consistent with estimates from the performance regressions using other performance variables.

* Source: How to Drive Data Literacy within the Enterprise

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Newsroom Activity

Solvendis added a new event 7 hours

Effective Self Assessment & Improvement Planning (Zoom...

The self-assessment process is, further, the key way in which providers can measure the effectiveness of their provision against the EIF. Under the...

  • Friday, 07 August 2020 10:00 AM
  • Zoom Conferencing

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page