Math, reading skills holding employees back

Employers can’t assume employees with high school diplomas are literate
By Asha Tomlinson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/29/2002

At a time when the economy is becoming more knowledge intensive and basic reading and math skills more valuable, evidence suggests workplace literacy is a significant problem few employers are doing anything about.

Employers tend not to invest in the development of literacy skills at work because they don’t see it as an issue, said Michael Bloom, director of education and learning at the Conference Board of Canada.

“Most employers are unaware of the extent of this issue even though the International Adult Literacy Survey — sponsored by the National Literacy Secretariat and Human Resources Development Canada — finds that 42 per cent of Canadian workers have literacy skills below the level they need to succeed and perform well in most jobs,” Bloom said.