Reading, Writing Skills Essential for Jobs

Blog Post created by teachontarioteam on Aug 13, 2015

girl_reading_writing_480x320.jpgDo reading and writing skills still matter for careers your child may be considering?


With so much emphasis placed on the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills and jobs these days, some might be left wondering.

But, according to the experts at Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), reading, writing and many other English class spin-off skills still make up the majority of what the world’s job markets consider essential skills.


Through extensive research, the ESDC, along with other national and international agencies, has identified and validated nine key essential skills. These skills are used in nearly every job and throughout daily life in different ways and at varying levels of complexity, the ESDC says.


Below are the top nine essential skills for work as outlined by the ESDC.


  1. Reading
    Reading refers to the skills needed to understand and apply information found in sentences and paragraphs. At work, people use reading skills to locate and use information from memos, emails, manuals, reports, proposals and other written material.
  2. Document Use
    Document use refers to the skills needed to find, enter and use letters, numbers, symbols and images in electronic and paper formats. At work, people use document use skills to find and enter information in electronic and paper visual displays, such as forms, lists, tables, graphs, maps and drawings.
  3. Writing
    Writing refers to the skills needed to compose handwritten or typed text to communicate information and ideas. At work, people use writing skills to compose texts, such as notes, memos, bulletins, email messages, instructions, procedures and reports.
  4. Numeracy
    Numeracy refers to the skills needed to make sense of and apply mathematical concepts and information. At work, people use numeracy skills to tally costs, create budgets, calculate lengths and volumes, analyze data, estimate times and manage the other mathematical demands of different situations.
  5. Oral Communication
    Oral communication refers to the skills needed to exchange thoughts and information with other people by speaking, listening and using non-verbal cues, such as body language. At work, people use oral communication skills to talk to customers, discuss products with suppliers, explain work procedures to co-workers, participate in virtual sales meetings with clients, and other activities that involve verbal exchanges.
  6. Thinking
    Thinking refers to the skills needed to solve problems, make decisions, think critically, plan, remember details, and find information. At work, people use thinking skills to do tasks, such as solving electronic equipment problems, assessing the safety of a jobsite, deciding who to hire, planning meetings, memorizing passwords, and finding the information needed to estimate the cost of a project.
  7. Digital Technology (Skills) (formerly, Computer Use) - NEW
    Digital technology refers to the skills needed to understand and use digital systems, tools and applications, and to process digital information. At work, people use digital technology skills to input, access, analyze, organize, create and communicate information and ideas using computers, software, point-of-sale equipment, email, podcasts, web applications, smart phones and other digital devices.
  8. Working with Others
    Working with others refers to the skills needed to interact with other people (one or more). At work, people work with others in pairs and in small and large groups to coordinate tasks, share resources, plan, make decisions, negotiate, solve conflicts and complete other activities that involve teamwork.
  9. Continuous Learning
    Continuous learning refers to the skills needed to continually develop and improve one's skills and knowledge in order to work effectively and adapt to changes. At work, people use continuous learning skills to identify and develop the knowledge and skills they need to perform well, build careers, prepare for and adapt to changes in processes, technology, regulations, employer demands, etc.