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Why is Data Literacy Important? The Top 10 Data Literacy Stats for 2023

Discover the importance of data literacy as highlighted in the key stats from our State of Data Literacy Report 2023.
Feb 2023  · 7 min read

Inspired by the uptake seen from our data literacy month last year, we decided to investigate the broader attitudes towards data skills. Surveying over 550 business leaders across the UK and the US, we worked to find out how they’re approaching the data skills revolution. We wanted to demonstrate why data literacy is such an essential skill in the modern world, and get the onions and insights of those who are on the front lines of data education. 

The result of our efforts is the State of Data Literacy Report 2023. We highly recommend reading the report in full to explore the key insights and findings in more detail. However, we’ve collated the top stats from the report in this article to give you a snapshot of what you can find in the full report. 

Whether you’re a business leader trying to make a case for a data literacy training program or an individual concerned about the data skills gap, the State of Data Literacy Report can give actionable insights into data education. 

Download the State of Data Literacy Report 2023

Discover the latest data literacy stats and insights from industry leaders and experts.

Download Now
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Top 10 Data Literacy Stats for 2023

Below, we’ve picked out some of the top stats pulled from our State of Data Literacy Report. You read our article introducing the report to get further context. 

1. Three of the top five fastest-growing skills in the past five years were data skills

This stat is one that really highlights the importance of data literacy. The respondents to our survey identified business intelligence (41%), data science (37%), and basic data literacy skills (30%) as some of the most in-demand skills, alongside project management and presentation skills. 

Evidently, taking the time to learn data skills can put you in a strong position in terms of career growth and future-proofing your career. 

2. 87% of leaders recognize data literacy as the most important skill behind basic computer skills

When it comes to skills that are essential in the modern workplace, data literacy was identified as second only to basic computer skills. This stat is reflective of the modern, increasingly data-driven world we’re living in. 

Data literacy is the ability to read, write, analyze, communicate, and reason with data. It’s a skill that allows individuals and organizations to make better, data-driven decisions. As such, it’s one that everyone should have some degree of competency in. 

You can check out our guide to data literacy to find out more. 

3. 74% of respondents agreed that employees equipped with data literacy skills outperformed those without the same fundamental data skills

We’re already seeing the data revolution in action in the workplace; those who have a level of data fluency outperform those who do not. Data skills can provide a distinct advantage when it comes to career opportunities and progression, further highlighting the importance of data literacy. 

4. 77% of leaders agreed they would pay a salary premium to candidates with data literacy skills

One such example of the advantages that data literacy can bring to your career is the fact that those with the right skills can command a higher salary. Of those data leaders surveyed for the report, 77% claimed they would pay at least 10% to 15% salary premium for those with data literacy skills above those without. 

More resoundingly, roughly a quarter of leaders would offer a 30% salary premium or more for candidates with good data literacy skills.

5. 89% of leaders believe colleges and high schools must provide all students with data literacy skills

This stat is particularly interesting when it comes to the importance of data literacy. Despite the overwhelming majority of business leaders reporting that data literacy should be a key part of education, a 2021 report from Forrester found that only 48% of academic institutions had data literacy skill initiatives in place. 

Clearly, there is a gap between the skills employers and organizations need and those being taught at educational institutions. 

6. 88% believe data literacy is an essential 21st-century skill 

Again, this stat speaks volumes about how highly prized data literacy is in the modern world. What’s more, given that we’re collectively producing more data than ever before, it seems likely that being able to manage, interpret, and work with this data will only become more important. 

7. Over 70% of leaders engaged in data upskilling have experienced more than 70% improvement in quality and speed of decision-making, innovation, customer experience, and employee retention

For those who are tasked with improving data literacy in a professional environment, this statistic shows how beneficial upskilling can be. Throughout the State of Data Literacy Report, we see similar statistics, as well as opinions from those who have successfully implemented data training at their organizations. 

By using tools such as DataCamp for Business, organizations can develop data literacy training programs and gain buy-in from their employees. The report has several case studies showing the vast improvements in efficiency and decision-making as a result of data upskilling. 

8. Over three-quarters of respondents said the quality and speed of decision-making improved as a result of data training

Modern businesses thrive on gathering, extracting, and evaluating data. Those who have the ability to interpret such data are often better able to make informed decisions and predictions about their work. 

Data-driven decision-making is a crucial skill, and those who can make better decisions faster are highly prized in the current climate. 

9. 67% of data and business leaders believe that organizations that invest in data upskilling are more likely to be recession-proof

There’s no denying that it’s been a difficult time across several industries recently. Yet in the face of economic uncertainty, many believe that organizations with a data-literate workforce are more likely to be in a position to weather the storm. 

It’s not just organizations either; 85% of people we surveyed felt that countries investing in data literacy skills will outperform those who are not. 

10. 18% of respondents said their organization offered no form of data training

Despite the overwhelming agreement over the importance of data literacy, surprisingly few organizations have a mature data literacy program in place. While 79% of leaders across the UK and US said that they offer some form of data training for their workforce, 34% mentioned that only employees in some data roles receive data training, and only 14% claimed that only employees outside of data roles receive training. 

These stats mean that only around a third of organizations have a mature training program in place for all employees. Evidently, data leaders need help in implementing a structured approach to data upskilling. 

In the State of Data Literacy report, you’ll find frameworks and advice about how to implement such a program and how to overcome the challenges often faced by those tasked with delivering them. Read the full report to find out more. 

Download the State of Data Literacy Report 2023

Discover the latest data literacy stats and insights from industry leaders and experts.

Download Now
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