India has highest data literacy, but also most data-stressed workforce: Accenture-Qlik report

India has highest data literacy, but also most data-stressed workforce: Accenture-Qlik report
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27 Feb, 2020

India ranks the highest among nine countries with respect to data literacy, according to a report by Irish IT giant Accenture and Pennsylvania-based business intelligence organisation Qlik. The report showed 46% of respondents in the country being confident with their data literacy skills. 

Data literacy refers to the ability of individuals to read, understand, question and work with data. 

Titled The Human Impact of Data Literacy, the study showed that while 83% of Indian employees recognised data as an asset, 80% of them chose to make decisions based on their “gut feeling” instead of relying on data-driven insights.  

The study recorded responses from 9,000 employees from India, the UK, US, Germany, France, Singapore, Sweden, Japan and Australia, among which close to 1,000 responses were from Indian employees. It estimated that the mean working hours for an Indian employee to be 36 hours each week.  


As much as 85% of Indian respondents said they were unhappy or overwhelmed while working with data, although 53% of those surveyed said they could derive the right insights from data. 

“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,” said Jordan Morrow, global head of data literacy at Qlik and the chair of the data literacy project advisory board.

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The report said that when employees are unhappy working with data, it causes them to procrastinate and avail sick leaves. Each Indian employee lost 69.5 hours or 8 working days annually due to stress caused by information, data and technology issues. Accenture and Qlik equated the loss in working hours to an estimated Rs 33,216 crores in lost productivity on an annual basis for India. 

“No one questions the value of data – but many companies need to re-invent their approach to data governance, analysis and decision-making,” Sanjeev Vohra, group technology officer and global lead for Accenture’s data business group, said, adding that companies must be well-equipped with the right tools and training to get the most out of data and avoid stressing out employees. 

Read: India needs to reimagine data security to hit a 5 trillion dollar economy 

The data literacy report also found that employees who identified themselves as data literate were 25% more likely to take and be trusted with taking data-driven decisions, and 53% of employees also believed that data literacy training would make them more productive.