New graduates looking for their first job in the data industry could struggle to get their foot in the door at many businesses after it has been revealed that most firms put practical skills ahead of academic qualifications in their recruitment process.
That is the rather concerning conclusion of a new survey for the Data Literacy Project, commissioned by data and analytics firm Qlik, which covers attitudes from global business decision makers.
It interviewed over 600 business chiefs at global publicly traded companies from a wide range of industries including banking and financial services, manufacturing, retail, transportation, healthcare, energy, construction, utilities, and communications.
Almost two-thirds (59%) of global businesses surveyed identified prior job experience or case study interview – where a candidate is presented with a business problem they must solve – as the top indicator of the candidate’s data literacy.
Only 18% viewed a BA or even an MA or doctorate as a primary consideration when hiring.
Recruitment site Glassdoor identified a similar trend in 2018, finding that an tech companies were giving more weight to practical data skills over official qualifications.
Nationwide Building Society chief data officer Lee Raybould said: “What we look for are people who are curious and inquisitive, have a passion for doing the right thing, and are open to using data to find insights that support better business outcomes.
“The volume and variety of data is constantly growing, and the insight it can unlock to allow firms to be more successful is incredible, but you need people who are prepared to engage with data, and to gain an understanding of how to use and interpret it to support decision making no matter what their job role.”