Studies now show there is a glaring deficiency in reading and writing among new entrants in the workforce, and that is troubling employers who are being forced to invest in additional training—or simply look for skilled workers offshore—for one of the most fundamental job skills in the 21st century economy.
When Writing is Wrong
Studies are showing that today’s workforce is “woefully ill-prepared” for the demands of the workplace.
The decline in reading and writing skills has demonstrable social, economic, cultural, and civic implications. Workers who cannot read and write well earn less and have higher unemployment rates. Employers, meanwhile, must spend more time and money on what is considered a basic skill.
Even among recent graduates, new employees are frequently unable to write effectie business communication, read analytically or solve problems.
It’s nice that they are reading e-mails and reading comics, but if they can’t turn it into a communication tool, that is where the breakdown happens on the employer side.
Literacy levels today are similar to those in 1970, but the economy has changed drastically since then. Workers today need to be able to read and analyze complex, often very technical material, like manuals for car mechanics, to succeed in most jobs.
Jobs that don’t have much in the way of skills have moved out of the country or are not living-wage jobs. That means even jobs that are considered low skill, require workers to read at a reasonably high level.
Schools are not demanding students to read what the workforce is demanding them to read and the problems come down to basic errors in grammar, spelling and tone that can nonetheless be disastrous for a company and its image.
If you can’t make sure an e-mail is grammatically correct, what else are you cutting corners on? Companies invest millions of dollars in their image and it can be undone in a matter of minutes by one sloppy e-mail.