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Survey Proves that Writing Is Your Ticket to Promotions and Pay Raises on the Job
A report by The National Commission on Writing entitled, “Writing: A Ticket to Work… Or a Ticket Out,” has some eye-opening statistics for people looking to work their way up the ladder at work. Here is a highlight of their major findings:
A survey of 120 major American corporations employing nearly 8 million people concludes that in today’s workplace writing is a “threshold skill” for hiring and promotion among salaried (i.e., professional) employees. The survey’s results indicate that writing is a ticket to professional opportunity, while poorly written job applications are a figurative kiss of death. Estimates based on the survey reveal that employers spend billions of dollars annually correcting writing deficiencies. The survey, mailed to 120 human resource directors in corporations associated with the Business Roundtable, produced responses from 64 companies, a 53.3 percent response rate.
Among the survey findings:
- Writing is a “threshold skill” for both employment and promotion, particularly for salaried employees. Half the responding companies report that they take writing into consideration when hiring professional employees.
- People who cannot write and communicate clearly will not be hired and are unlikely to last long enough to be considered for promotion. “Poorly written application materials would be extremely prejudicial,” said one respondent. “Such applicants would not be considered for any position.”
- Two-thirds of salaried employees in large American companies have some writing responsibility. “All employees must have writing ability…. Manufacturing documentation, operating procedures, reporting problems, lab safety, waste-disposal operations—all have to be crystal clear,” said one human resource director.
- Eighty percent or more of the companies in the service and finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) sectors—the corporations with the greatest employment growth potential—assess writing during hiring. “Applicants who provide poorly written letters would not likely get an interview,” commented one insurance executive.
- A similar dynamic is at work during promotions. Half of all companies take writing into account when making promotion decisions. One succinct comment in the survey was: “You can’t move up without writing skills.” More than half of all responding companies report that they “frequently” or “almost always” produce technical reports (59 percent), formal reports (62 percent), and memos and correspondence (70 percent). Communication through e-mail and PowerPoint presentations is almost universal. “Because of e-mail, more employees have to write more often. Also, a lot more has to be documented,” said one respondent.
- More than 40 percent of responding firms offer or require training for salaried employees with writing deficiencies. Based on the survey responses, it appears that remedying deficiencies in writing may cost American firms as much as $3.1 billion annually. “We’re likely to send out 200–300 people annually for skills-upgrade courses like ‘business writing’ or ‘technical writing,’” said one respondent.
- In 1771, James Madison, who became the fourth President of the U.S., was Princeton University’s first graduate student.
- Goose bumps are caused by arrector pili muscles, which are fan-shaped muscles at the base of each hair. These miniscule muscles contract—and cause a person’s hair to “stand up straight”—when the body is cold, in an effort to generate heat.
- The Immortal Jellyfish got its name because this animal is able to revert back into its adolescent state after going through adulthood, and repeats this process for all eternity (unless, of course, it is eaten by a predator, stressed by environmental factors, starves, etc.).
- The official bird of Redondo Beach, California, is: the Spruce Goose, the seagull, the Goodyear blimp, the pelican?
Word of the Month
equivocal | ih-KWIV-uh-kul | adjective
• ambiguous, uncertain, open to interpretation
“When asked if he had any knowledge of the missing party-fund money, Keith gave an equivocal answer.”
Wacky & Wise Websites
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SATisfy Your Curiosity
SAT Exam practice question: Fill in the blanks with the words that complete the meaning of the sentence.
There has been little _____ criticism written about de la Mare; indeed, that which has been written is at the two extremes, either appallingly _____ or bitterly antagonistic.
(SAT Answer: Scroll to the bottom.)
Word OriginsThe term D-Day was created by the American military during World War I and is used to indicate the timing of operations. The World War II D-Day invasion of Normandy is the most famous example. The D simply stands for day, so literally D-Day is day-day. D-Day is the day an operation is planned to take place. So D-10 (“D minus 10”) refers to 10 days before the operation. If the operation is postponed by one day, that is referred to as D+1 (“D plus one”). The invasion of Normandy was actually postponed by one day because of bad weather (it was supposed to take place June 5, 1944), but June 6 is still celebrated as D-Day, as D+1 Day doesn’t have the same ring to it. H and H-Hour are used in the same way. The earliest citation of D-Day in the Oxford English Dictionary is from the First Army, American Expeditionary Force in Field Order No. 8, issued on September 7, 1918: “The First Army will attack at H-Hour on D-Day with the object of forcing the evacuation of St. Mihiel salient.”
Answer: Objective/sycophantic Here’s why: While both “complimentary” and “sycophantic” are opposed to “antagonistic,” only “objective” logically fits the context of the sentence.
Fun Facts Answer
In 1983, Redondo Beach adopted a resolution making the legendary Goodyear blimp, based in nearby Carson, CA, its official city bird.