Growth in the 'big data' industry in the UK, which could create thousands of new jobs across the country, is being held back by widespread poor numeracy skills, a new study has revealed.
The report Count Us In: Quantitative Skills for a New Generation, published by the British Academy for the Humanities & Social Sciences, warns that the UK population must urgently improve its basic numeracy and statistical skills if it is to become a world leader in the field.
The Centre for Economics and Business Research estimates growth industries linked to ‘big data’ – the large amounts of data generated by various kinds of online and digital activity – could bring an extra £74 billion to the UK economy by 2017. The British Academy’s report states that it is essential to both the current workforce and future generations that skills are developed to understand and interpret the kind of data being produced in order to compete globally – and transform the UK into a ‘data-literate’ nation.
National Numeracy welcome the findings of the report, which further adds to mounting evidence that an urgent overhaul of the UK’s numeracy skills is vital to economic growth and future-proof jobs. Last year a report from Pro Bono Economics for National Numeracy estimated the annual cost of poor numeracy to the UK economy at £20 billion, and findings by the Confederation of British Industry revealed wide-spread concerns over employees with insufficient numeracy skills.