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Analytical skills:


Data is becoming increasingly available, with ‘big data’ derived from online activity, sensors, the 'Internet of Things', new analytical tools, and artificial intelligence.

Workers in almost all industries, and across most roles, will be expected to use available data to derive value from it and improving products and services. This may require the ability to analyse and present raw data or to interpret data analysis and apply findings.

While data analytical skills are increasingly important, other skills such as data management, information literacy, problem-solving, critical thinking skills and creative thinking skills are also required by industries.

27% of IRC Skills Forecasts identified this skill as a priority

The project Big Data is reviewing current and emerging developments in big data skills, particularly in relation to data management, data analytics and data-driven decision-making, and identify related skills needs shared by multiple industry sectors. This project is one of nine cross-sector projects being undertaken by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee to address common skills needs, minimise duplication and consolidate existing training units. 

Industry skills needs

Analytical skills ranked as the equal 7th highest-priority by industry, with 27% of individual IRC Skills Forecasts listing them as a priority for their workforce.

When considering the IRC’s ranking of generic skills, Design mindset/Thinking critically ranked 1st and Data analysis ranked 9th (out of 12).

While not highly ranked across all industries, analytical skills are a high priority for a handful of industries.

Industries which prioritised analytical skills include:

  • Chemical Hydrocarbons and Refining
  • Sustainability
  • Construction and Plumbing Services
  • Culture and Related Industries
  • Printing and Graphic Arts
  • Ambulance and Paramedics
  • First Aid
  • Enrolled Nursing
  • Public Sector
  • Business Services
  • Financial Services
  • Information and Communication Technologies
  • Property Services.


    Case studies

    Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure

    The Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure industry consists of five industry sectors which identified analytical skills as a top priority for their workforce. Industry sectors include:
    • Coal mining
    • Drilling
    • Metalliferous mining
    • Extractive industries
    • Civil infrastructure.

    All sectors identified the need for analytical skills in the workforce to better predict future demand of particular resources and optimise current production. 

    This is highlighted in the following quote from the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure IRC Skills Forecast:

    With the push toward productivity and efficiency, workers in the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure sector will need the ability to prioritise, collect and analyse data, in order to identify the best way forward. Strong analytical skills and an understanding of key factors driving value in their business will enable workers in the industry to make the right decisions.

    Financial Services

    The Financial Services industry consists of a number of industry sectors which identified analytical skills as a priority for their workforce. Industry sectors include:
    • Banking
    • Mortgage broking
    • Financial markets
    • Financial planning and advice
    • Insurance
    • Superannuation
    • Accounting and bookkeeping
    • Mercantile agents
    • Trust administration.

    All sectors identified the need for analytical skills in the workforce to better understand the needs of the client or improve internal operations in the business.

    These quotes sourced from the Financial Services IRC Skills Forecasts highlight why analytical skills are a priority in these sectors:

    Increased demand for customer centric roles, including the use of data analytics to customise financial products to better deliver to customers, remote customer assistance with technologies, and managerial roles. 

    Analytical skills and the ability to understand, clean and utilise big data to give companies a competitive edge and produce better, customised consumer products. 

    Updated: 29 May 2018
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