Bad Writing is a Costly Problem

By Staff Report

Sep. 16, 2004

Employers are having to spend more than $3 billion annually to improve the writing skills of their employees, according to the College Board’s National Commission on Writing. More than 40 percent of firms offer or require writing training for salaried employees.
The commission surveyed 120 human resource directors in companies affiliated with the Business Roundtable.
Half of the respondents said that they take writing ability into consideration when hiring and promoting professional employees. Eighty percent of employers in the “FIRE” industries–finance, insurance, services and real estate–give writing tests to job candidates or otherwise try to determine the quality of a candidate’s writing.
The commission estimates that the annual cost of training new salaried employees in writing at $104.8 million and the cost of training new hourly employees at about $98.7 million. On top of that, it says that training current salaried employees costs $1.36 billion and current hourly employees costs $1.52 billion. All told, it estimates the total cost of filling what could be called the “writing skills gap” at about $3.09 billion.

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