A new academic study has revealed Singapore as the most data literate nation globally. This was the result of the country’s high corporate data literacy levels.
The report, commissioned by US business intelligence provider Qlik and produced by Wharton School academics and IHS Markit, sought to establish a link between enterprise value and data literacy and identify corporate data trends and gaps.
PSB Research surveyed 604 enterprise business decision makers, who came from global publicly traded companies with at least 500 employees – and 62 per cent of them having more than 5,000 staff — and spanned across 10 geographies: US, France, UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, India, Japan, Australia and Singapore.
The organisations came from range of industries, including financial services, communications, healthcare services, insurance, manufacturing, professional services, resources and construction, retail, transportation, as well as utilities and personal services.
204 of the respondents came from APAC countries including Japan, Singapore, India and Australia. The report did not specify how many firms in Singapore were surveyed.
The report measured corporate literacy levels based on three factors:
- The data skills of the employees (human capital)
- Data-driven decision making
- Data skill dispersion (how widespread the use of data is throughout the organisation)
“Singapore’s emergence as the most data literate nation globally (with the highest Corporate Data Literacy score of 84.1) means that organisations in Singapore have scored well on all three dimensions of corporate data literacy,” Qlik’s Regional Vice President for Asia Pacific, Julian Quinn, told e27.
“This could be enabled due to a range of factors including Singapore’s strong focus on education and lifelong learning (human capital), investment in technology infrastructure which makes it easier to access and use data, as well as its ‘hub’ role for the region which encourages a culture of sharing/disbursing information,” he added.
Singapore emerged as the most data literate nation globally, with the highest Corporate Data Literacy (CDL) score of 84.1 compared to 81.3 in the United Kingdom and 72.6 in the US. Within APAC, India had a score of 76.2; Australia had a score of 72.4; while Japan had a score of 54.9.
Overall, Asia Pacific Pacific recorded the highest increase in the importance of data in the last 5 years – moving faster than the US and EMEA. The banking and finance industry led the way in terms of achieving the highest average CDL score in APAC.
Despite that, one in 10 companies in APAC have made changes in the way they use data and only 20 per cent are willing to pay higher salaries to employees who are data literate – revealing a severe disconnect between the state of affairs and how enterprises are dealing with it.
Globally, healthcare, retail and real estate industries underperformed on data literacy (with respective data literacy scores of 67.1, 69.2 and 70.7), while the administrative, technical services and finance industries performed more consistently (81.1, 80.2 and 77.4 respectively).
“Globally, there is still a gap between how companies perceive the importance and relevance of data, and an appreciation for data literacy. This is evidenced from their lack of willingness to commit resources for data literate employees,” said Quinn.
“Globally, 92 per cent of business decisions makers believe it is important for employees to be data literate yet only a third (34 per cent) of firms currently providing data literacy training. Two-thirds of companies (63 per cent) plan to hire more data literate employees but only 36 per cent are willing to pay higher salaries to employees who are data literate,” he said.
The report also said that only 8 per cent of firms surveyed have made major changes in the way the data is used over the past five years.
“This is why it is still important for everyone to work together – from the government, organisations to individuals – to foster a data-driven mindset. Government and organisations can do this by providing all employees with access to relevant data as well as the tools and encouragement to turn it into insights, and individuals can start by asking more questions and interrogating facts and information given,” said Quinn.
“Only then will companies be able to reap the full benefits and derive significant enterprise value,” he concluded.