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Poor literacy spells trouble for those aiming high at work


Spelling and grammatical errors aren't simply an oversight - they could seriously hamper your chances of promotion at work. So says recruitment consultancy Office Angels, who surveyed 1500 employees and employers to establish just how technology has affected standards of literacy in the workplace.

The survey found that many PC users rely on their computer's spell-checker to pinpoint any mistakes in their written work, despite the fact that it may be based on American spellings and may overlook sentence constructions which are grammatically correct, but mean the wrong thing.

Spell-checker is regarded as a useful tool by many, but nearly half of employees surveyed said they failed to check their work on a routine basis. However, mistakes such as confusing the application of similar words such as 'affect' and 'effect', misuse of apostrophes and failing to capitalise names and places correctly are leaving managers fuming, the survey finds. 77% say that a good standard of literacy is an essential skill, with 53% viewing employees who don't pay due care and attention to their written work as lazy and unprofessional. Managers questioned said they saw errors in over half of the work presented to them, and 35% said they wouldn't read any further once they'd spotted a mistake - important to note if you've a document putting forward a case for something!

Last week, our sister site BusinessZone reported on another survey, this time from the Royal Mail, which showed that businesses are losing contracts to the tune of £2 million a year because of bad grammar, out-of-date telephone numbers and incorrectly addressed correspondence.


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