none
none

Low levels of literacy and numeracy hit productivity

31-08-2010
by 
in 

Australian employers are concerned at continued low levels of language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) in the workplace.

According to new Australian Industry Group research, 93% of employers surveyed reported that low LLN levels are impacting negatively on their businesses.

The report, Getting it Right: Foundation Skills for the Workforce, surveyed companies across manufacturing, services, construction and mining.

It found low levels of LLN were significantly contributing to the completion of workplace documents and reports (21%), time wasting (17.7%) and materials wastage (11.5%).   This varied between the company sizes with inadequate completion of workplace documents and reports more prominent in medium (19.8%) and large (18.6%) companies than it was in small businesses (15%).

Time wasting was more keenly felt in small (17.2%) and medium enterprises (16.8%).  Material wastage (14.4%) was also a key concern for smaller companies.

The behaviour is supported by the recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics which shows that 44% of Australians aged 15-74 have literacy skills below Level 3 (Level 1 being the lowest) and that 55% had numeracy skills below Level 3.

“While this represents a slight improvement in literacy and a slight deterioration in numeracy compared to previous results, it is clear that a major problem still exists,” said Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox.

Mr Willox said the findings clearly demonstrates that the Workplace English Language and Literacy (WELL) program has had insufficient impact on employers with only 7% reporting to have used it. 

Instead, the most common solution to low LLN levels appears to be internal company training (30.4%) and skill development support (26.7%), although these both have had limited impact. 

“To better address this chronic problem we believe it is time to implement priority three of the National Foundation Skills Strategy - strengthen foundation skills in the workplace –  in conjunction with industry, said Mr Willox. “As part of a national public awareness campaign this should also include the new Foundational Skills Training Package and strengthening the WELL program broker service. The Australian economy urgently needs to lift productivity and we cannot do this without increasingly higher levels of the workforce foundation skills.” 

Related news & editorials

  1. 07.11.2017
    07.11.2017
    by      In
    Makers Empire is a startup that has developed award-winning software to help more than 200,000 students translate their design visions into printable 3D creations.
    CEO Jon Soong said the company had partnered with Polar3D, an American 3D printer manufacturer expanding into the educational space.
    “... Read More
  2. Australian Industry and Skills Committee
    03.11.2017
    03.11.2017
    by      In
    The Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) has developed a new model for the development of vocational education and training that rewrites the rules for the way industry collaborates on future skills needs.
    The scheme is based on a series of cross-sector projects that focus on emerging... Read More
  3. pi-top modular laptop
    25.10.2017
    25.10.2017
    by      In
    The latest-generation pi-top modular laptop is available now from RS Components. The new device is designed for educational and self-learning activities using the Raspberry Pi 3 single-board computer with the pi-top ecosystem of software, accessories and teaching/learning aids, to help users to... Read More
  4. 10.10.2017
    10.10.2017
    by      In
    Schools vying for the right to conduct 12-month science experiments aboard the International Space Station (ISS) are pitching their ideas at the International Astronautical Congress at the Adelaide Convention Centre.
    Fourteen South Australian schools have developed experiments ranging from how... Read More