Accenture and Qlik’s survey of 1,000 employees in Singapore found that local companies lose an average of more than seven working days (56.5 hours) per employee annually.
This is the second-highest time globally (after India with 69.5 hours) and significantly higher than the average of five working days (43 hours), Qlik pointed out.
These lost days due to procrastination and sick leave stem from stress around information, data and technology issues, and equate to S$5.1billion (US$3.6 billion) in lost productivity, the technology company said.
“The Human Impact of Data Literacy” report by the two companies is based on research conducted amongst 9,000 global full-time employees in organisations of 50+ employees in the UK, USA, Germany, France, Singapore, Sweden, Japan, Australia and India.
How data literacy gap is impacting Singapore organisations
The research identified two ways in which the data literacy gap is impacting Singapore organisations’ ability to thrive in the data-driven economy, according to the report.
While 90% of employees recognise data as an asset, few use it to inform decision-making, Qlik said.
Only 26% of surveyed employees believe they’re fully prepared to use data effectively, and only 16% report being confident in their data literacy skills — their ability to read, understand, question and work with data, the firm added.
Additionally, only 35% of employees trust their decisions more when based on data, and more than half (53%) frequently defer to a “gut feeling” rather than data-driven insights when making decisions, survey results indicate.
A lack of data skills is shrinking productivity. In total, 84% of employees report feeling overwhelmed or unhappy when working with data, almost the highest percentage globally (after India with 85%).
40% of surveyed employees even state that they will find an alternative method to complete the task without using data at all.
73% report that data-overload has contributed to workplace stress, culminating in 47% of the local workforce taking at least one day of sick leave.
How to empower employees in a data-driven economy
To succeed in the data revolution, business leaders must help employees become more confident and comfortable in using data insights to make decisions, the report says.
Singaporean employees who identify as data-literate are nearly 50 percent more likely to feel empowered and trusted to make better decisions, according to the report, adding that 48% of employees believe that data literacy training would make them more productive.
“Despite recognising the integral value of data to the success of their business, most firms are still struggling to build teams that can actually bring that value to life,” said Jordan Morrow, global head of Data Literacy at Qlik and chair of the Data Literacy Project Advisory Board. “There has been a focus on giving employees self-service access to data, rather than building individuals’ self-sufficiency to work with it. Yet, expecting employees to work with data without providing the right training or appropriate tools is a bit like going fishing without the rods, bait or nets – you may have led them to water but you aren’t helping them to catch a fish.”