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Skills in demand – Finance data skills gap becoming a worrying normality

Data knowledge in finance are highly sought after as the skills gap continues to grow compounding development and efficiency across the USA and UK.

Data literacy is key 

The research is based on 200 senior managers and higher in financial services – 100 based in the UK, and 100 in the USA. It has shown that 31% of respondents acknowledge there is a lack of data literacy skills across their organisation and 27% stating they do not have the right skills in place to get the most out of their data. This of course leads to inefficiencies, lost resources, underutilised capabilities and decreased customer services. 

Financial businesses need to identify their data literacy weaknesses and address them accordingly to maximise data value within an organisation. This can be done through targeted data literacy training sessions, the development of data culture in the business and an assessment of the tools being used on a day-to-day basis. 

Appreciating data 

Too few people in data-centric businesses understand the importance of data. The findings showed that 52% of respondents said their biggest hurdle when introducing new data tools or data processes is that the ROI on data is not clear enough. Additionally, 20% expressed that there are not enough team members within their business that can understand data.  

One of the hardest parts of a data leader’s position is to upskill team members across an organisation where the use and need for data varies wildly. This can be partially addressed through improved storytelling and by making data more accessible. It is surprising how many non-data professionals still consider data to be numbers on a spreadsheet, so a data leader must find a way to make the success of data more tangible and applicable for each team’s objectives.  

This requires the business leadership team to be on board with the data mission and that means CDO’s need to have a seat at the table and be appreciated by other stakeholders. To achieve this, data objectives need to be clear and accessible to all levels of the organisation, tie in with the wider business objectives and provide evidence-based improvements for different departments. Once this has been accomplished, the focus can shift to being on data literacy, data culture and upskilling to ensure that any further data-related developments can be easily accommodated. This will lead to improved business operations, increased ROI, improved customer services and new services that had once not been possible.  

It was agreed by 94% of those interviewed for the study that as the cost-of-living crisis continues data insights are necessary to provide customer satisfaction and services – particularly in banking – and to ensure the security of customer financial data. This ambition is only possible with the right set of data literacy skills embedded across different departments, particularly finance.  


If you have utilised data literacy and data transformations in your business, enter the DataIQ Awards to highlight your accomplishments and be recognised for excellence among data peers.  

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