HR employees have least analytical acumen: Survey

HR departments around the world have the poorest analytical skills, compared to other company departments—a worrisome trend, given the key role these skills play in the age of Big Data.

This is according to a new survey by the American Management Association (AMA), called Conquering Big Data: A Study of Analytical Skills in the Workplace.

Only 27% of HR employees around the world have advanced or expert analytical skills. Another 23% have poor or non-existent capabilities in that field. Fifty percent of industry members have a basic grasp. The survey shows that these are the lowest numbers, compared with other departments.

In contrast, 58% of individuals working in finance have advanced or expert analytical skills. Only 7% of finance employees have poor or no analytical abilities. Thirty-five percent have basic capabilities. Finance is the group with the greatest analytical acumen.

“It’s not a surprise that analytics strength isn’t distributed uniformly across today’s organizations,” says Robert G. Smith, AMA’s senior vice-president. “What is cause for concern is how deficient some functions are rated. As never before, staff in every function need to be savvy when it comes to analytics. Professionals at all levels have to know what questions to ask and how to make wise choices based on data.”

Smith says analytical skills will become even more important in the next five years, so companies will need to increase training to help workers hone those abilities. “It used to be okay that only a handful of experts in a company had analytical responsibilities, but no longer,” he explains.

The global survey polled 800 respondents from more than 50 industries.

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