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Experian and The Data Literacy Project

Paul Malyon 4 minute read Data quality, Life at Experian

On Wednesday (10th October 2018) I was delighted to attend the launch of an exciting global initiative, which aims to help people and businesses understand, analyse and use data with confidence.

As a founding member of The Data Literacy Project alongside Qlik, Accenture, Cognizant, Pluralsight and the CIM, Experian is supporting the Data Literacy Project to help organisations, educators and individuals speak the language of data. Today, data literacy is as important as reading and writing, but we're facing a significant skills gap.

And this shows in the research carried out by Wharton Business School and IHS Markit specifically for the Project, which discovered:

  • Firms with strong data literacy have between $320 - $534 million greater enterprise value.
  • A strong corporate data literacy culture (or workforce) can increase company value by up to 5%.

However:

  • Only 29% of business decision makers believe data literacy is important to a successful economy.
  • Two-thirds of employers are not willing to pay higher salaries to data-literate employees.
  • Only 24% of the global workforce feel that they are fully data literate.

Clearly, there are some gaps in recognising the importance and value of data skills. The Data Literacy Project, and the accompanying Data Literacy Index has set out to celebrate those firms who are leading the way and helping those who are still at the beginning of their journey, as we continue to move through the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

At Experian, we believe in the power of data. We also believe that people (be they business people or consumers) benefit from taking control of their data. Whether it be through getting to know your Data Self, making informed decisions on business mergers or analysing the impact of marketing spend; Experian bring the tools, data and insights to people in ways that are easy to use and can deliver maximum return on investment.

Wednesday’s launch event in London was attended by a range of influential leaders and policy makers to kick off the debate across media, business and government. It was fantastic to see such passion and engagement, not only from businesses already well versed in this but from members of the UK Government who can make high-level changes that we need to support educators, businesses and individuals.

A key challenge that came up from the panel discussion was one for all of us to consider – how do we educate the next generation to be data literate? With the research showing that only 21% of 16-24-year-olds consider themselves as data literate, there needs to be the right level of investment in data skills, in the same way, that schools have recently been investing in IT and coding skills. The panel was challenged by Lord Lucas of Crudwell & Dingwall to put in place the resources to help educators and students at all levels to obtain the data and tools to assist with their learning. This is a key aim of the Project and something that I personally want to focus on as a member of the Advisory Board.

Mike Capone, CEO of Qlik said “Data illiteracy is a global challenge that can be solved by no one organisation alone. We have brought together this group of passionate leaders to ignite discussion, create better resources and drive greater appreciation for data skills that are critical for the data revolution occurring around us.”

We want to help more people get the best out of data so we will be working with the Data Literacy Project to share the stories that help explain the link between data literacy and business success. We’ll also be part of a collaborative team to help support businesses, educators and individuals to learn more about the power of data and how becoming more data literate will help them take control of their futures. There’s a great video here which brings this to life.

To find out more about The Data Literacy Project, head to www.thedataliteracyproject.org where you can test your own level of data literacy and find out how to get involved.