Email illiteracy coming to an office near you…..

 Simon Kearney, author of a publication titled “Emails, computers making Aussie workers dumb”  makes some interesting observations.
According to a report by the Australian Industry Group (AIG), the use of email and computers in workplaces has created a new literacy problem in Australia’s workforce, affecting otherwise skilled and educated workers, .
The survey measured the state of literacy and numeracy skills in 338 businesses employing about 56,000 workers.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said
 It’s something we wouldn’t have seen reported by business before, there would be many older professionals that do need assistance to deal with things like email addresses
The report found that the use of email or web-based communication had uncovered another layer of illiteracy, saying:
employees who have a reasonable level of literacy skill but are unable to complete some workplace tasks to the standard required. This included tasks like using appropriate email language in communications between employees and external customers. Some employers reported that employees with high-level technical skills, such as engineers, were poor communicators within workplace settings.
 One-in-four businesses indicated they had concerns about the literacy and numeracy of apprentices and technicians that they were employing. AIG chief executive Heather Ridout said the issue had become a big problem. She said
The skill intensity of jobs is rising all the time
The report found the services industry was most affected, with 16 per cent of service companies saying they were highly affected by poor literacy and numeracy, compared with 7 per cent of manufacturing companies and 3 per cent of construction firms.
Simon draws attention to several problem areas of Literacy/numeracy issues in the workplace:
  1. Too much reliance on calculators for simple maths tasks
  2. Inappropriate language used in emails,
  3. Employees’ fear of giving presentations due to lack of communication skills
  4. Employees unable to complete necessary training due to literacy issues
Is anyone really surprised? In my day, we had to count money back into a customers hand if we worked in a shop. Now they just have to do as the computer tells them to. No thinking required.
When I went to school, we had to re tell a story after we read a book. That apparently helped grow our imagination. Now the kids just watch a DVD. No imagination required.
Of course, without an imagination, we don’t amount to much at all.
In the modern era, we are now having to learn how NOT to spell.
SMS terms like txt (text), m8 (mate), Howru (How Are You), lol (laugh out loud), roflol (rolling on the floor laughing out loud) and of course WTF (why the face)….
Who talks like that anyway?
Science and Tech
3 Comments on this post.
  • pierre
    4 June 2010 at 10:42 am
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    Allow me to point out what I believe to be a faux pas: “WTF (why the face)”

    From this side of the planet, WTF is an abbreviation for “What The Fcuk”


  • Shane Drew
    4 June 2010 at 10:23 pm
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    I should point out that wtf has other interpretations too, but there is a ‘movement’ gathering momentum encouraging less abusive type language in texting. I opt for the ‘friendlier’ form as I have young children who I wish to discourage from using such language. End of the day, people will interpret it however they wish I guess.

    • pierre
      10 June 2010 at 4:29 pm
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      This movement for less abrasive abbreviations have fair intentions.
      The issue is that they still only remain abbreviations and thus still open to what ever interpretation..
      The question is; What will the majority interpret it as?

      This reminds me of the “alien hand” phenomenon: the patient suffers from a lack of communication between the two halves of his brain. The cognitive side is unaware of the one hand as a result.
      For reasons still unknown, this hand is always evil..

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