How your grammar skills affect your salary
Want to get ahead at work? Take a little extra time to formulate grammatically correct sentences and carefully proofread everything you write. How important are the minor details of word usage and punctuation? A report put out by Grammarly earlier this month shows that people who use proper grammar advance further and faster in their careers.
For this study, they analysed the LinkedIn profiles of native English speaking professionals, and compared their language skills with their career trajectories over a ten year period. Their findings are telling.
People with poor grammar skills don’t rise to the top. Those who had not reached a director-level position in the first 10 years of their working lives made 2.5 times as many grammatical mistakes as people who earned director-level titles or higher.
The professionals who made fewer grammatical mistakes were promoted more often and changed jobs more frequently than did their more error-prone contemporaries.
Beyond just getting promoted and moving up the ladder, using proper grammar can be critical to getting hired at all. One of the easiest ways to sink your candidacy for a position is to have typos or spelling mistakes in your resume. Hiring managers interpret such errors as signs of carelessness, laziness, or a lack of language skills on the job seeker’s part. If you can’t take the time to produce an error-free document when you’re trying to get hired in the first place, how will you perform on the job?
Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit recently wrote in the Harvard Business Review that he flat out won’t hire someone who uses poor grammar – even for a programming role that doesn’t require writing for the public. He explains, “On the face of it, my zero tolerance approach to grammar errors might seem a little unfair. After all, grammar has nothing to do with job performance, or creativity, or intelligence, right? Wrong. If it takes someone more than 20 years to notice how to properly use “it’s,” then that’s not a learning curve I’m comfortable with.”
There are some fairly obvious reasons why the proper use of grammar would be associated with greater career success. First off, taking the time to formulate proper sentences and carefully proofread your work shows an attention to detail. People who care about producing quality, error-free work generally get promoted above people who don’t.
Having proper grammar skills can often be an indication that someone has a greater level of education, which in many fields still coincides with higher positions.
When I mentioned that I was writing about this, my coworker Christina, a professional editor, became quite passionate about the proper use of “your” (belonging to you) and “you’re” (you are.) Apparently she is ‘driven batty’ when her friends who are native English speakers get this one wrong.
With style guides, dictionaries and numerous grammar-related websites readily available online, there’s really no excuse anymore for some of the classic grammatical errors. If you don’t know whether to use “affect” or “effect,” “who” or “whom,” or “fewer” or “less,” just look it up.
For help with the most common mistakes that trip people up, here’s an infographic detailing 15 grammar goofs that can make you look silly.
How about you? Do you have a particular language usage error that drives you crazy? Do you think it’s fair that people with better grammar skills advance faster at work? Please, share your opinion with us.
Source: Forbes, Report: How Grammar Influences Your Income