The benefits to employers of raising workforce basic skills: a review of the literature

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This paper summarises the literature on the benefits which employers derive from raising the basic skills levels of the workforce. Because the evidence on basic skills in the workplace is still quite sparse, the review also covers the benefits to individuals of improving basic skills and looks at the literature on the benefits of training for employers, and employees, more generally.

The aims of the literature review were to review and synthesise the existing literature on the economic and wider benefits of basic skills improvements in the workplace, focusing in particular on the benefits that accrue to the employer. We aimed to provide a theoretical framework of benefits within which the evidence could be placed and to identify gaps in the evidence. Among the benefits to be considered in the review, subject to the availability of evidence, were increased profits, productivity, sales, turnover, growth and other direct benefits, as well as improved workforce flexibility, product quality, customer service and ability to seize new initiatives.

Ananiadou, K. Jenkins, A. & Wolf, A. (2003) The benefits to employers of raising workforce basic skills levels: a review of the literature: October 2003. NRDC: London