9 in 10 Employers Say Data Skills Gap Impedes Optimal Productivity Amid Growing Reliance On Data-Driven Decision Making


  • 94% find themselves using data to make business decisions more so as compared to a year ago
  • However, 93% believe their workforce is not achieving optimal productivity due to a lack in data skills
  • Data Analysis, Data Interpretation for Decision Making in Business, and Data Protection and Risk Management were the top data-related skills necessary but lacking in their workforce

SINGAPORE – Media OutReach – 1 July 2020 – As Singapore progressively reopens its economy, majority of companies in Singapore have voiced that the data literacy of their workforce is more important now than before the COVID-19 outbreak. However, a data skills gap is hindering the productivity of 94% of employers in Singapore. These insights were revealed in the recently launched NTUC LearningHub Data Skills report, which features insights from industry leaders such as global tech giant IBM, Japanese tech conglomerate Softbank and leading analytics software company Qlik.

The report, entitled ‘A View From the Ground: Closing the Data Skills Gap in the Covid-19 Era and Beyond’ uncovers both employers’ and employees’ views on the degree of reliance on data and business intelligence in Singapore’s business landscape, the general perception about the data-related competencies of the nation’s workforce, hiring trends and preferences of businesses here, and recommendations for closing skills gaps in order for businesses and workers to remain competitive.

A prevalent skills gap was uncovered as employers identified the data-related skills which were necessary but lacking in their workforce. Employers voted Data Analysis (voted by 67%), Data Interpretation for Decision Making in Business (voted by 50%), and Data Protection and Risk Management (voted by 49%) as the most necessary data skills for their businesses. At the same time, these skills were perceived as lacking within their companies as voted by 47%, 37% and 32% of employers respectively.

Almost all (94%) of employers surveyed said they have increased their reliance on data and business intelligence to make business decisions now as compared to a year ago. Industry clusters such as Professional Services, Trade & Connectivity, and Lifestyle top the list when it comes to experiencing increasing use of data in the workplace to drive business decisions with over 90% of business leaders in these categories saying so, as compared to those in Manufacturing (88%) and Build Environment (69%).

“As companies are thrusted into transformation during this Covid era, employers have actively reassessed the workforce they need in order to navigate the new economy. The COVID-19 storm is far from over and all business leaders must work out their strategies in weathering this very turbulent and uncertain period ahead. In this complex business environment, data will help us a lot in supporting our intuition as we make difficult business decisions,” says NTUC LearningHub CEO Kwek Kok Kwong.

“To help all of us understand the importance of data and how it can support businesses, we embarked on this research. We hope that through this report, more business leaders will understand how to plug the data skills gap and overcome the possible inertia in encouraging more employees to embrace data. We also hope that more workers will gain insight into the overall market demand for data and motivate themselves to pick up these skills. In this decade, data will be key to business success and data literacy will therefore be a core skill required in many future jobs. My tip for workers is to pick up these skills quickly and you will be more competitive in the job market,” adds Mr Kwek.

Read Also:  DEUTZ AG: High hopes for 2021 following a successful start to the year for DEUTZ

Commenting on the findings, Andrew Campbell, Senior Partner, Asia Pacific, Talent and Transformation at IBM says, “I’m excited to participate in this study with NTUC Learning Hub! The findings in the paper are especially relevant in light of the current Covid-19 crisis. The pandemic has highlighted the criticality of data for Singapore’s people and business. While obtaining data can be solved in various ways through the use of technology, gaps still exist in the ability to interpret and use data. Singapore’s commitment to continuously up-skilling and increasing the data literacy of its workforce will be critical for continued success and to ensure that Singapore keeps its reputation as a regional and global business trailblazer.”

“We at Qlik have been a long-time champion of data literacy and believe this research is very timely at a time where more organisations are turning to data and analytics to build agility to pivot to new norms during this pandemic,” says Suganthi Shivkumar, Managing Director for ASEAN, India and Korea at Qlik. “The report shows the roadblocks ahead for businesses in attaining a data literate workforce. From the employer’s side, providing tools, training and access to data is a critical step. Employees should ask more questions, interrogate the facts given, identify where they can use data then ask for that data. Together, this will create a more pervasive data-driven culture so everyone can confidently read, understand and work with data to attain more optimised business value and outcomes. This organisation wide active intelligence can inspire more data confidence across all functions.”

Eric Lim, Sales Director, Softbank Robotics Asia Pacific adds, “It is a timely research study to understand from an employer’s perspective on how one’s job have since transformed and data-skilled jobs have grown so much in importance across various industries and in the job market. With the COVID-19 situation, data analysis jobs will allow employees to stay gainfully valuable to the company and to be able to perform their work remotely with the data extraction. Both employers and employees are also embracing a work transformation that data will accelerate both the achievement of company’s goals and the performance of employees. It is definite that data training courses are here to stay as a continual life-long upgrading integral skill set.”

To download the full NTUC LearningHub’s Data Skills Report 2020, visit:


About NTUC LearningHub

NTUC LearningHub was corporatised in 2004 with the vision of transforming the lifelong employability of working people. We work with both corporate and individual clients to provide learning solutions in areas such as Infocomm Technology, Healthcare, Employability & Literacy, Business Excellence, Workplace Safety & Health, Security, Human Resources and Foreign Worker Training.


To date, NTUC LearningHub has helped over 21,000 organisations and achieved over 2.5 million training places across more than 500 courses with a pool of over 400 certified trainers. As a Total Learning Solutions provider to organisations, we also forge partnerships and provide a wide range of relevant end-to-end training solutions and work constantly to improve our training quality and delivery. 


For more information, visit www.ntuclearninghub.com.