The Truth about Data Literacy Today

We haven’t posted in a while on Be Data Lit, and there’s a reason for that. 

We’re tired.

This past year + has been a year of anguish, anxiety, love, and so much more. But it’s also been a year of activism, of acknowledging wrongs and coming to terms with our mortality. During this year, we have had to learn how to survive from a distance from each other and continue to educate each other on areas that are important to us. We’ve had to deal with the loss of loved ones.

I’m not here to write about all of those topics, even though they are at the forefront of my mind. But why am I tired?

I have lost track of the number of times that I have seen people talk about data literacy initiatives, implement solutions, and mention how businesses will thrive if they do x, y, and z. And every single time I read an article or read another “success” story, the one element that needs consideration is left out.

People.

Where are the people in this? Data literacy is a topic du jour because people are not receiving the education needed to support the data skill demands of today. Data literacy is about access to the skills required to thrive in today’s market and economy.

World Economic Forum says by 2025, 45% of employed people will need to reskilling.

45% need reskilling because their jobs will become redundant through advanced technology. Can we say that louder for the people in the back?

Data literacy initiatives are not a simple equation of doing this, multiply that, and give this, and suddenly your problem has changed. We fundamentally will have a significant skills rift in people who have access to skills and those who don’t. Stop making this about CEOs and company profits when investing in people, whether employed or not, is central to data literacy today.

Investing in people means:

  1. Lower attrition rates. 
  2. Higher levels of skilled workers. 
  3. Happier people. 
  4. Greater innovation to move your company to meet sales targets. 

Every company is a collective group of people employed together. Every company doing good today is investing in their people, and it’s life-changing. A diverse workforce that sees things differently and has a myriad of skills only strengthens that net.

People want to know they matter. You want to know you count, and so do I. And one of the best ways to do that is to help people thrive in life.

The data shows us that the path toward thriving today includes data skills. That’s not going away. If we’re going to move data literacy forward, let’s start being honest and work on this problem together.

This is the reason we need advocates, to tell the truth and to keep us honest.

1 Comment

  1. I share your exhaustion but this post at least gave me a nudge to lift my head off the laptop and pay attention. The stats around the need for reskilling are scary – and I use/reference your distinction on upskilling vs reskilling on almost a daily basis.

    Pushing the point that this is all about people is critical – and it’s easy to get distracted from that on occasion much as over time people sometimes forget that Covid numbers are about fellow human beings. Thanks for the reminder that it all has to come back to empowering and uplifting people and is not about strategic box ticking, profit making or soundbytes.

    Like

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