At a time when the “Great Resignation” is getting significant attention, there’s a perception that the need to hire has exceeded the growing need for specific skill sets. However, this could not be further from the truth. Businesses will remember 2022 as a year in which data and analytics skills grew in importance and prominence.
There will be explicit requirements for these skills among more job roles in 2022, including customer service, marketing, sales, and operations. To compete and remain driven by data, not guesswork, organizations will look toward data literacy as a way to prepare their staff for the future. But they also need the assistance of schools and universities to prepare new talent before they even walk through the door. Employers will also pay closer attention to applicants’ emotional quotient (EQ), knowing that employees who lack emotional intelligence are more likely to fail.
Do you remember the last time basic reading and writing skills were not required to get a job? Probably not. Likewise, the day is coming when data literacy will be so prevalent that everything that came before it will be a distant memory.
That day isn’t here yet, but it will begin to unfold in 2022 as businesses attempt to do more with data. While few will be expected to become data scientists, employers will start looking for people who are data-literate. For many jobs, data and analytics skills will be listed as explicit requirements, which will create a distinct advantage for applicants who possess these skills.
This isn’t about thinning the herd—managers genuinely want and need people who can read, analyze, and work with data. They will pay special attention to applicants’ abilities when hiring for roles across various departments. HR may even begin to track data and analytics skills for all prospective employees and ultimately lean in favor of data-literate candidates.
The good news for employees is that many companies will be eager to help their staff grow these skills by offering data literacy training as part of their retention and growth efforts.
Data literacy does not end at work, and for future generations, it should not begin there either. It would be a disservice to students to send them off into the workforce without first preparing them for an integral aspect of virtually any job imaginable. Many universities are already recognizing that they must do their part and are adding data literacy to their curriculum to teach students about the importance of data literacy, why this skill is invaluable, and how it is becoming a critical career differentiator.
Furthermore, students of all ages need to understand how to read, write, and work with data at some point in the future. Primary schools and universities will evolve quickly to fulfill that need or risk missing a pivotal window during their students’ education. Many people are beginning to realize it’s important to get these concepts into children at the youngest age possible.
The work will not only include data literacy but also take a closer look at the EQ of those who apply. Researchers at Cornell University and the University of Toronto have shown a link between EQ and decision-making. Emotionally intelligent people are also better at enduring stress and making smart decisions.
Given the importance of EQ, organizations have learned that technical experts without a growth mindset are likely to fail. The same can be said for data architects who do not actively listen or analysts who do not collaborate well with others. Collaboration and communication are essential and are continuing to increase in importance. In order to democratize data and analytics, ivory towers of expert data scientists must be transformed into diverse decision-making communities. EQ aspects are beginning to stand out as businesses refine their hiring strategies and better define what they are looking for in a candidate. Yes, we are in the midst of the “Great Resignation,” but top talent is still at a premium, and organizations will continue to be diligent in their search for the right type of top-tier talent.
In a highly competitive marketplace, businesses need every advantage they can get to compete. Data does not simply level the playing field; it is the difference between companies that thrive and those that merely survive, which is why data and analytics skills will be required for so many jobs. Schools and universities must do their part and help prepare students for the future of work. But smart organizations aren’t waiting around and have already started to deploy their own programs to ensure their staff is ready to use data. When data skills are paired with high EQ, employers acquire the rare talent they need to succeed for years to come.