Recent Business Studies

National and local surveys demonstrate the importance of writing skills for the workplace.

Current Challenges

The National Commission on Writing has determined that writing is a threshold skill in business today, and that executives expect concise, clear, correct writing from employees. In the Commission’s 2004 report, "A Ticket to Work or a Ticket Out: a survey of business leaders," concerns are raised that not only do entry-level employees lack writing skills, but recent college graduates have the weakest skills of all. Witness the following statements from survey respondents:

“The skills of new college graduates are deplorable—across the board; spelling, grammar, sentence structure . . . I can’t believe people come out of college now not knowing what a sentence is.”
“Recent graduates aren’t even aware when things are wrong (singular/plural agreement, run-on sentences, and the like). I’m amazed they got through college.”
“Apart from grammar, many employees don’t understand the need for an appropriate level of detail, reasoning, structure, and the like.”

In 2007, nearly half of the HR executives surveyed by the consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas concurred that recent graduates lack writing skills, and 27 percent of those surveyed said the graduates lack critical thinking skills as well. In “Young Workers: U Nd 2 Improve Ur Writing Skills,” the NY Times reported, “It seems that some young employees are now guilty of the technological equivalent of wearing flip-flops: they are writing company e-mail as if they were texting cell-phone messages with their thumbs.”

More recently, UpWrite Press conducted a joint e-mail survey with the Wisconsin Institute of CPAs. Read "E-mail survey points to expensive problems" to discover what 153 respondents across Wisconsin had to say about the cost of poorly written e-mails in their workplaces.