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A study examined the demand for basic literacy and numeracy skills in the workplace in England and Wales. Surveys were administered to 73 Training and Enterprise Councils and covered approximately 1.3 million jobs below the professional and technical level in 24,000 establishments. Skills were summarized by six broad occupational categories: clerical/secretarial; personal service; selling; skilled/craft manual; plant, vehicle, and machine operatives; and other manual jobs. Relatively few jobs were found that can be performed successfully without competence in the basic skills, particularly reading and oral communication skills. Considerable demand among employers for higher-level basic skills was found even for relatively low skill jobs, and level of basic skills sought generally increased with movement up the occupational hierarchy. Clerical/secretarial jobs had higher-than-average basic skills requirements, whereas manual occupations generally had lower-than-average requirements. Basic skills have become more important to employers in the past 5 years and will likely become even more important. Most employers surveyed rated the basic skills possessed by their employees as fairly adequate; however, 1 in 10 establishments rated their employees' basic skill levels as just adequate or worse. (Includes 10 figures, 13 tables.) (MN)

Descriptors: Basic Skills, Educational Needs, Employment Potential, Employment Qualifications, Foreign Countries, Job Skills, Literacy Education, National Surveys, Numeracy, Tables (Data), Workplace Literacy

Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Unit, Kingsbourne House, 229/231 High Holborn, London WC1V 7DA, England, United Kingdom (6 British pounds).

Autor: Atkinson, John; Spilsbury, Mark


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