21 Jul Workplace literacy
Workplace literacy refers to the fundamental skills employees need to have in order to fulfil their work functions and manage the demands of their jobs in a healthy, productive way. These skills include both essential skills and employability or soft skills. Increasing workplace literacy skills training lays the foundation for healthy, confident, productive workers who are able to grow with their industry, adapt to technological and workforce changes and transition through all phases of their employment.
- 48 per cent of Canadian adults have inadequate literacy skills, a significant increase from a decade ago (Survey of Adult Skills: Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, 2013).
- Employability Skills or Soft Skills (as identified by Futureworx) help workers to be adaptable and motivated throughout their whole employment and as they move into new roles or careers. These are the skills that hiring managers look for. The 9 Employability Skills are: motivation, attitude, accountability, presentation, teamwork, time management, adaptability, stress management and confidence.
- Hiring managers favour soft skills over hard skills when selecting entry-level hires, because they expect new employees to gain technical skills on the job (Preliminary survey report: the skill needs of major Canadian employers: Business Council of Canada, 2014).
- Essential skills (as identified by the Government of Canada) are needed for work, learning and life and are the foundation for learning all other skills. These skills are used in nearly every job and throughout daily life in different ways and at varying levels of complexity. The 9 Essential Skills are: reading, document use, numeracy, writing, oral communication, working with others, thinking, computer use and continuous learning.
- Even modest investments in workplace literacy and essential skills training can translate into substantial gains in workers’ skills and job performance, as well as increases in employment, earnings, job retention, productivity, and costs savings from reduced errors and waste (UPSKILL Health – Technical Report on worker and business outcomes: Social Research and Demonstration Corporation, 2016).
- Workers who had undergone essential skills training were nearly 25 per cent more likely to report a reduction in their work-related stress levels than those who had not (UPSKILL Health – Technical Report on worker and business outcomes: Social Research and Demonstration Corporation, 2016).
- 40 per cent of working Canadians say that their company rarely or never provides them with career development support, and 39 per cent say they would take a pay cut from another employer that offered better professional development opportunities (ADP Canada Sentiment Survey, 2017).
- In a survey of managers across Canadian industries, a third reported that low literacy rates among employees caused difficulty with introducing new technologies, product quality and productivity (Adult Literacy and Economic Performance: Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, 1992).