Millenials lack analysis skills

Aug 29 2013 by Brian Amble Print This Article

They've been accused of being lazy, self-absorbed, narcissistic and self-centered. But the latest accusation to be thrown in the direction of the much-vilified Millenial generation is that many of them are also lacking analytical skills when compared with other generations in the workplace.

Whether it's the expectation that Google has all the answers or the fact that when it comes to having an analytical mindset, there isn't an App for that, a study sponsored by American Management Association (AMA) claims that almost one in five Millennials (19 per cent) are perceived to be lacking the analytical skills they need to be effective in the modern workplace.

The survey looked at how prepared organizations are to compete in an age of Big Data and involved nearly 800 respondents from more than 50 industries. Participants were asked to assess the analytical skills of their employees by age group.

What emerged is that some 19 per cent of Millennials were adjudged to have poor or non-existent analytical skills compared to just six per cent of Gen X (30-50 year-olds). Some 16 per cent of Baby Boomers (aged 50-70) were also seen as similarly lacking.

The survey found that 46 per cent of millenials, 36 per cent of Gen X and 43 per cent of Boomers were judged to have only basic analytical skills. Meanwhile, with a combined 58 per cent rated as advanced or expert, the Gen X cohort's analytical strength was rated highest, followed by Baby Boomers with 41 per cent and Millennials with 35 per cent.

"Despite their familiarity with technology, Millennials aren't seen as having equal analytics savvy," said AMA's Senior Vice President Robert G. Smith. "But what's really at issue here is an analytical mindset, which includes both quantitative and qualitative ability more than any specific number-crunching skill.

"In other words, employees need to know what to look for, what questions to ask, and how to make inferences and draw conclusions based on data in order to drive the organization forward."

Of course, a strong argument could be made that Gen X's greater analytical ability is because they are use such techniques and practices day-in, day-out. But according to Robert Smith, organizations are going to have to acknowledge that a skills gap exists and take steps to address it.

"Companies will be stepping up development and training, and analytical skills will be high on the list of priorities. What they're seeking is strength in data analysis and critical thinking across the whole organization, not just among a select number of experts as in the past. Management realizes it is imperative to build the right skills…across all age groups in an organization."