According to the study The Impact of Basic Skills Programs on Canadian Workplaces, 66% of respondents saw reduced error rates in people’s work. Additionally, 85% of respondents saw increases in the quality of people’s work and 73% saw increases in work effort.
An extra year of schooling can raise productivity by between 4.9% and 8.5% in the manufacturing sector, and between 5.9% and 12.7% in the services sector (Canadian Council on Learning, 2007).
According to the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, on average, a one-dollar investment in training returns a benefit to the employer of $1.38.
Improved workplace safety
The understanding of safety regulations and procedures leads to fewer injuries, which in turn leads to reduced insurance costs and less employee downtime.
In a Conference Board of Canada study, 82% of respondents associated increased health and safety with their workplace’s basic skills program (The Economic Benefits of Improving Literacy Skills in the Workplace, Conference Board of Canada, 2007).
Enhanced workplace efficiencies
Greater understanding of job demands and procedures facilitates communication and enhances workplace efficiencies.
When literacy skills are enhanced, employees are better suited to meet the demands of the job and better prepared to assume greater responsibilities and seek promotion.
More vibrant and engaged workforce
An organization active in offering education and employment opportunities is more likely to retain its employees.
Employees who participate in literacy and essential skills programs increase their level of self-confidence, acquire new skills, are better prepared to seek promotion opportunities, and believe that they are valued by their workplaces.
A Conference Board of Canada report also indicates that employees are more inclined to take ownership of their work, become more effective decision-makers and assume a more engaged and participative role within the organization. Other benefits include enhanced teamwork and improved labour-management relations (The Economic Benefits of Improving Literacy Skills in the Workplace, Conference Board of Canada, 2007).
More competent use of technology
In a Conference Board of Canada study, 87% of respondents said that programs impact positively on participants’ ability to use workplace-based technology (The Economic Benefits of Improving Literacy Skills in the Workplace, Conference Board of Canada, 2007).
Bolstered Canadian economy
A more literate workforce boosts productivity: The C. D. Howe Institute reports that a 1% rise in a country’s literacy level, relative to the international average, is associated with an eventual 2.5% rise in labour productivity and a 1.5% rise in the per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This 1% increase in literacy rates would boost the national income by as much as $32 billion (Public Investment in Skills: Are Canadian Governments Doing Enough?, Serge Coulombe and Jean-François Tremblay, C.D. Howe Institute, 2005 and Canadian Labour Congress, 2007).
Differences in average adult literacy levels explain as much as 55% of long-term differences in the long-term growth rate of GDP per capita as well as productivity growth at the national and international level. (The International Survey of Reading Skills (ISRS), 2008).
Enhanced literacy skills prepare employees for managerial and technological changes in the workplace, and position the company for greater competitiveness.
Enlarged employment opportunities
Greater literacy and numeracy skills improve chances of individuals finding work and attaining promotions on the job.