Data literacy to be the most in-demand skill for financial services sector by 2030

85% of C-level executives surveyed working in the financial and banking industry believe those without data literacy skills are at risk of being left behind in the future workplace.

Employees working in the financial services and banking industry are at risk of being left behind if they do not develop data literacy skills, according to research from Qlik®, a leader in data analytics. More than 8 out of 10 (85%) C-suite executives working in the industry believe that their staff would struggle in the future workplace without them.

According to the report, Data Literacy: The Upskilling Evolution, developed in partnership with The Future Laboratory, the demand for data literacy skills comes at a time when employees report their use of data and its importance in decision-making has more than doubled over the past year. This has been most evident in the finance industry when compared to retail, healthcare, HR, and manufacturing. As a result, both business leaders and employees ranked data literacy as the most in-demand skill in the sector by 2030.

Based on a broader global study of over 1,200 C-level leaders and 6,000 employees in the US, UK, Germany, France, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, the study included responses from more than 160 C-suite executives and over 900 employees working in financial services and banking. It showed that those identifying as data literate believe they have a competitive advantage over their peers, with:

•71% stating they feel more confident making decisions when armed with relevant data

•71% feeling more confident presenting to their manager and/or more senior team members when they have relevant data

•68% believing that showing they can work with data will help their career progression

Business expectations do not match reality

In this industry, data literacy expectations are high. In fact, just under 9 out of 10 (86%) C-level executives within the sector expect their employees to explain how data has informed their decisions and proposals.

However, only a fraction of employees would consider themselves to have these capabilities. Whilst 60% of leaders believe their employees are confident in their data literacy skills, only 14% of employees report to be, showing the deep divide between expectation and reality.

Despite this lack of confidence, employees in financial services understand that data literacy skills are vital to their success. The study showed that almost three quarters (73%) of employees working in financial services believe they need data literacy to fulfil their current job roles.

Data Literacy upskilling is vital

So, what’s the solution? The study found that only 6% of financial services leaders currently offer data literacy training or upskilling experiences for all their staff. To remedy this, leaders plan to, on average, almost double training in the next 12 months (49%) to reflect the greater role of data and automation in the workplace.

“Data literacy is not a nice to have, it’s a necessity and business leaders need to wake up to this. To gain competitive advantage and in many cases, stay alive in the uncertain economic climate we are in, all business decisions must be grounded in data”, said Dr. Paul Barth, Global Head of Data Literacy at Qlik.

“Our study shows that executives within the financial services and banking industry know this. An overwhelming majority of leaders expect their teams to take information and turn it into actionable insights. But they’re not giving them the tools or training to be able to do so. Employers need to support their staff as the workplace becomes more data-driven by investing in their education, so they feel confident when reading and using data. This will allow them to make data-informed business decisions with accuracy.”

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