The Year's Career News in Review

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 0 comments

For my final blog of 2010, I decided it would be a useful exercise to look back at the 600+ tweets I’ve issued on Twitter in order to follow up on some, comment on the significance of others, and call your attention to some important ones you may have missed. (If you’re not already following me, my handle is LaurenceShatkin.)

In January, I mentioned that the Department of Labor was asking people to vote for their favorite career sites. The top vote-getters are now listed as Tools for America’s Job Seekers at the Career OneStop site. For example, the set of tools includes some social media sites and niche job boards that I’d never heard of before.

Several tweets dealt with the career prospects for lawyers. This career no longer guarantees high salaries and lots of job offers. One fascinating blog by a law professor shows how salaries for lawyers cluster around two levels, roughly $50,000 and $150,000. It’s almost like two separate careers, what statisticians call a bimodal distribution.

One theme that appeared in many tweets was the loss of public-sector jobs that has resulted from tight budgets at the municipal and state level. For example, Colorado Springs laid off firefighters, a vice team, burglary investigators, and beat cops, cut back on the hours of park maintenance workers, stopped repaving roads, and reduced bus service.

It’s worth taking another look at the predictions of the researchers at IBISWorld for the best-performing (i.e., those with most revenue growth) industry sectors of the coming decade. It’s interesting to note that most of them involve STEM careers and several of them will provide many green jobs.


Best Performing



Voice Over Internet Protocol Providers (VoIP)



Retirement & Pension Plans






eCommerce & Online Auctions



Environmental Consulting



Video Games



Trusts & Estates



Search Engines



Recycling Facilities



Land Development


Another interesting prediction came from the software giant Cisco, who predicted that the smart grid will have a bigger market impact than the Internet. This sounds like hyperbole to me, but even a half of that impact would still mean tens of thousands of jobs.

Speaking of predictions, it’s worth taking another look at the list of pundits and supposed experts who were wrong about the housing bubble (by saying there was none).

Green jobs have been a continuing interest in mine. I think it’s worth repeating here that the O*NET developers have created an excellent directory of Web-based resources about green jobs. It’s a PDF with clickable links.

My favorite career-related video of the year: An animation that makes an economics lecture come alive. You'll find that economics can be a lot more fun than you thought possible. You'll also learn what really motivates workers. (It’s not pay.)

I hope the coming year is a good one for you and for your career.

New Insights into the Mommy Track, Part 2

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 0 comments

This is another blog about women's career issues, prompted in part by my recent research for Quick Nontraditional Careers Guide: Eight Steps for Defying Traditional Gender Roles, which will be published in June. Last week I wrote about a study that found high-skill women suffer a greater wage impact from the mommy track than do low-skill women. This week I’d like to discuss another study, this one showing that highly educated women face different levels of wage damage from the mommy track depending on their occupation.

Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz, economists at Harvard, in “The Career Cost of Family”(PDF), find that the earnings penalty of the mommy track is decreasing in many high-end careers. Specifically, many of these careers, especially in health care, have become more family-friendly than they were in the past, perhaps because of the increased presence of women in them. Corporate and financial occupations, on the other hand, are not progressing as rapidly.

Like last week’s study, this one is based on longitudinal research. In this case, the subjects were a very high-powered group: graduates of Harvard College between 1969 and 1992. The study found that although women are increasing their presence in high-level occupations, they are tending to choose professions and specializations within professions that offer the greatest flexibility of work hours.

The really interesting part of the report, called “Occupational Vignettes,” explains how and why women are moving into certain professions and specializations.

Among the fields of medicine, women account for 42 percent of workers under 45 years of age. In the specializations ob-gyn, pediatrics, dermatology, child psychology, and medical genetics, they account for more than half of all practitioners. “They exceed their average of 42 percent but are less than 50 percent in allergy and immunology, family practice, psychiatry, pathology, public health, general preventive medicine, internal medicine, and forensic pathology.” The general trend is that women are opting for specializations with fewer regularly occurring on-call, emergency, or night hours, and they’re avoiding those with the longest residency or fellowship requirements.

One of the most dramatic increases in female participation has been among veterinarians. In the 2007–2008 academic year, 77 percent of the DVM degrees went to women. Why? “Compelling evidence suggests that the increasing ability of many veterinarians to schedule their hours and reduce or eliminate on-call, night, and weekend hours has been a contributory factor.” Regional veterinary hospitals and emergency centers are serving this function, lifting the burden from veterinary practices. “About 40 percent of female veterinarians in private practice in 2007 (versus 27 percent of male veterinarians) stated that they put in no emergency hours.” It is also becoming more commonplace for veterinarians in a private practice to be employees rather than partners, an arrangement that encourages greater job flexibility.

Women with MBAs have a very different experience. The researchers find that these women “have the lowest labor force participation rates, the longest periods of job interruption when they have children, and forfeit the largest fraction of their income when they take time off.” Although they start out with pay equal to that of male MBAs, a decade later they are earning 55 percent of the men’s earnings. The researchers found three roughly equal factors that account for the bulk of the difference: different training prior to receipt of the MBA (e.g., fewer courses in finance), career interruptions (usually the mommy track), and shorter work hours (also usually the mommy track). Those MBA mothers with high-earning husbands are most likely to quit working or opt for self-employment; the others tend to cut back on work hours. The reduction in participation and work hours is actually greater three or four years after the first birth than in the first couple of years. “It is as if some MBA moms try to stay in the fast lane but ultimately find it is unworkable.”

In pharmacy, women account for almost 70 percent of new degree recipients. Like veterinarians, pharmacists have shifted from being stakeholders in a business (more than 35 percent were self-employed in 1970) to being employees (0.6 percent were self-employed in 2008). Optometry has made the same shift, and women are now 66 percent of new degree recipients.

The report ends with a chart (below) that shows the 87 highest-paid occupations from 2006–2008, with different shapes representing different industries. (The chart is based on data from the Current Population Survey.) Horizontally, the further to the right, the higher the earnings. Vertically, the further below the zero line (which is near the top), the greater the earnings gap between men and women. You’ll note that, as a group, the business occupations (red squares) have the biggest gap.

Note also that the technology occupations (green triangles) have the smallest gap. As an explanation, the authors of the report speculate, “One possibility is that the technology occupations are so recent that their work organizations are structured to deal better with a labor force that needs greater work flexibility.” Regardless of the reason, this small gap is one more reason why women should consider STEM careers. For more on this topic, see Quick STEM Careers Guide: Four Steps to a Great Job in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math, due out next month.

New Insights into the Mommy Track, Part I

Wednesday, December 8, 2010 0 comments
Women’s career issues are a frequent topic of this blog, and I have been thinking about them again while putting the finishing touches on a manuscript, Quick Nontraditional Careers Guide: Eight Steps for Defying Traditional Gender Roles, due to be published in June. I also wrote about these issues in the volume about nontraditional careers that is part of Progressive Careers. This week I also learned about two new research studies that cast additional light on this subject, showing that the consequences of the mommy track vary greatly. More highly skilled women, particularly in certain fields, suffer a greater penalty for choosing to have children.

David Ellwood, Elizabeth Ty Wilde, and Lily Batchelder, in “The Mommy Track Divides: The Impact of Childbearing on Wages of Women of Differing Skill Levels” (PDF), wanted to know why childbearing by female college graduates has declined so much. Among those born in the early 1940s, nearly 50% of them had borne children by age 25, and only 18% were childless at age 40. Among the cohort born 20 years later, only 20% had borne children by age 25, and more than 25% remained childless at age 40. By comparison, in both generations, women who were not college graduates bore children earlier in life, with little generational difference in their timing.

The researchers hypothesized that the college grads were postponing childbearing to allow themselves time to establish a career and thus minimize the wage impact of the mommy track.

The researchers used data from a longitudinal study, dividing the women into low-skill and high-skill groups based on their performance on the Armed Forces Qualification Test. (They used that rather than college attendance, because early childbearing clearly can and does influence education.) They then compared the income trajectories of the two groups and found that the low-skill group had a trajectory that not only was flatter (as would be expected) than that of the high-skill group but also less affected by child-bearing. Having children later or not at all improved their earnings only modestly. For the high-skill women, however, the income rise was steeper but leveled off when they bore children, a mommy penalty that persisted even a decade after childbirth. But by postponing childbirth, the high-skill women had achieved a higher pre-child earning level and therefore leveled off at a higher plateau. In other words, for high-skill women it pays to establish a career before having children (if ever). This would explain the historical fertility and timing differences mentioned earlier.

Another interesting question is why women’s earnings suffer after child-bearing. Is it because they shift to part-time work or a less demanding occupation, leave their employer (thus losing human capital), or drop out of the workforce entirely (thus forgoing work experience)? The researchers found that all these behaviors have an impact, but there is additional impact that can’t be explained by these. Even women who stay full-time in the same occupation with the same employer suffer a 14% loss in earnings. Evidently, some other factor, such as discrimination or a perceived loss of career commitment, is depressing earnings.

It’s useful to note what the researchers found about high-skill men’s earnings. Like the high-skill women, those who postponed parenthood had higher earnings, but the arrival of parenthood had a much smaller impact than it had on the women. Most interesting was the finding that men who remained childless had the lowest earnings of all in the high-skill group. There’s a chicken-egg problem here: Does fatherhood make men strive more, or do low-earning men make less attractive partners for starting a family?

Apart from its findings about the wage penalty of the mommy track, this study produces two disturbingly different portraits of child-bearing behavior. One, among low-skill women, consists of child-bearing at a young age, much more often outside of marriage, with low earnings and little prospect of a large increase in earnings later on. The other behavior, among high-skill women, consists of child-bearing by a typically married couple in their peak earning years. You can imagine very different outcomes for the children in these two scenarios.

In next week’s blog I’ll write about a different study that looks at how, among highly educated women, different occupations cause the mommy track to have different impacts.

5 Tips on Web Site Building and Web Stats

Wednesday, December 1, 2010 0 comments
By Devin Jopp, SCORE COO

The most basic Web site services are free services. These services are easy to use, but limited in the amount of space and bandwidth. They typically also place advertisements on your site to offset their cost.

The next step up are services that charge a monthly fee. In exchange, you get a greater amount of space, bandwidth and no advertisements. All of the domain registrars like Network Solutions and Go Daddy offer Web development solutions.

The next option, building your own Web site, provides the most flexibility. You can either build your own or hire a consultant to do it for you. Once you have selected your domain registrar and hosting company (ISP), you can begin programming your new Web site. Tools like Microsoft Front Page or Macromedia Dreamweaver provide a familiar Windows front-end that automatically generates html code and allows you to click and drag items in order to create your Web site. Or, you can hire a Web design firm to do this for you.

 Get bids for Web site development at Simply post your requirements and wait for the bids to come in, or get estimates from firms in your city.

Analyze your Web traffic and track statistics. Google Analytics offers a free web analytic solution. StatCounter is a free package you access by logging in and copying code into your Web site. You can also buy an off-the-shelf package like Webtrends that is installed on the server and tracks critical stats like the number of visitors, highest ranked pages, etc. Many of the site builder tools mentioned earlier also provide options for tracking Web stats.

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5 Tips for Taking Your Small Business Online

  1. Your product line should be able to be delivered economically and conveniently through the mail or over the Internet.
  2. The Web allows you to market to customers outside your geographical location. Your product should appeal to people nation-or-continent-wide.
  3. Compare new “technology” costs to current bricks and mortar costs, e.g.: rent, labor, inventory and printing costs.
  4. Realize that the World Wide Web levels the playing ground—you can look like a big company with a great Web site. 
  5. Draw visitors to your site cheaply. Establish and grow alliances that will hotlink to your site for free.

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How to Build Strategic International Relationships

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 0 comments
by John Astor

Just learning how to shake hands in career world doesn’t make you culturally aware. A few learned copy-cat mannerisms and a couple opening lines will not put the global executive into the good graces of their regional leaders. It used to be fine, considering the small amount of time that leaders spent abroad. But more and more, as we see top-level local management strategies that have transparent relationships with each other for alignment and success, building relationships that are strong and solid are absolutely essential in today’s highly competitive marketplace.

In Japan, during the 1980’s boom years, foreigners were falling over each other to grab some of the success that Japanese businesses had created. Many managers learned a little bit of the language, how to eat soup, etc., but they missed a great opportunity to build real bonds. Unfortunately, those bonds could have also helped the Japanese businesses during the ‘90’s.

Today, we are in the midst of a series of dynamics such as, rising new economies, immediate access to customers and speed decision making, so creating and nurturing long lasting connections is a must. Maya Hu-Chan of the Global Leadership Development Center so correctly states, ‘In my work with multinational corporations, my global clients have often pointed out that building partnerships is one of the most important competencies for global leaders of the future’.

To develop powerful partnerships and prevent problematic situations, integrate these five pieces of advice.
  • Have a real interest in other cultures and learn about them through food, the arts and music, literature and the areas that give uniqueness to their place the human experience.
  • Build partnerships wherever you go with ease. You never force a friendship. You develop it. Become an open access point of assistance to your host reports, superiors and especially those horizontally. Encourage others to do the same.
  • Listen, Listen, Listen! This may be one of the great challenges for human beings, but it is an essential skill for trust. Don’t just listen with your ears, but apprehend the individual with all of your faculties. Go beyond their special behaviors and reach for what they are trying to communicate.
  • Never be patronizing. This may be very difficult for some cultures that have been taught they are the best. Be careful not to appear paternal or on a higher level than other people. Also pay close attention to how you phrase comments about their culture. This is also true for spouses of expatriates.
  • Get out of your shell. The higher you go up in an organization, the more insulated you become. Mingle with different people with different interests and you will be well prepared to meet the exciting challenges of interacting with all types of personalities from all over the world.

By putting these five points into action will give you a basis for working in all environments and with all cultures. Of course, each culture has unique aspects that give them their own perspectives on business and life, and we are all unique individuals with unique behaviors, but having a real sense of how we can make deeper connections profoundly helps us move forward together.
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My Advice to PhDs in the Humanities

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 0 comments
Last week I was invited by the Career Services office at Rutgers University to be part of a panel speaking to humanities PhD candidates about careers outside of academia. I was at the receiving end of a similar panel discussion many years ago, when my PhD degree was new, so I was happy to pay back the debt I owed. I’ll give you the gist of what I said last week.

Your career will change many times during your working lifetime, and you will find ways to pursue interests you don’t expect to pursue. You also will find the need to develop new abilities and use abilities you don’t realize you have. But your immediate need is to find a job that matches the interests and abilities that you can identify now. You should start by clarifying these interests and abilities.

The panelists I listened to when I was a new PhD referred to a career-development book that helped me but that now is definitely showing its age. I’d rather you buy my books, but I’ll explain to you what specific career-development exercise in that book helped me. Take a sheet of paper and divide it into three columns. In the leftmost column, write the names of some jobs you have held or work-relevant accomplishments. In my case, I had done some college teaching and had written my dissertation. In the middle column, write the major tasks that you did in these jobs. Regarding the dissertation, I mentioned settling on a topic, identifying research resources, taking notes on research, organizing the notes, organizing what I wanted to write, and so forth. In the rightmost column, identify the skills you used to accomplish these tasks. Then notice which skills turn up most often and decide which you enjoyed using most. That should point toward your goals for your next job.

In my case, I realized for the first time that teaching did not satisfy me as much as researching and writing. That became my job target. At this time, my wife was working at Educational Testing Service and was passing on to me the job postings that she considered relevant to my background. I rejected two of these because they didn’t fit this new career goal, but the third was for a job researching and writing about careers for the SIGI computer-based career information system. I’ve been doing variations on this job ever since.

However, I’ve had to develop many new skills along the way. One of these is working with technology. In the early days of the SIGI system, we typed up information and handed the paper to the person who operated the ridiculously complex mainframe text-entry program. After a couple of years, I was given the responsibility of developing a database about college majors and learned a crude text-editing program. But the technical specifications for the database kept changing, and I needed an efficient way to be able to manipulate the text to match. My boss convinced me to take a computer-based course in BASIC to learn the skills to do this. Several years later I took three one-day courses, paid for by ETS, to learn Microsoft Access, a skill I still use almost every workday. I taught myself Excel from a manual.

I had struggled with math in high school and had avoided it in college, so I had assumed I’d never find a workplace use for my interest in technology. But now I was able to find an outlet for this interest and develop the appropriate skills. I’ve also needed to develop my writing skills in ways that I didn’t expect. Writing the narrative screens (as opposed to career information) to develop the SIGI PLUS system, I had to find ways to get my points across and extract input from users in an interactive format with highly limited space. Once ETS decided to get out of the career development business, I had to learn a different style to write books for JIST, my current employer. Actually, writing for JIST demands not one style but several. My recent book 2011 Career Plan called for a pushy style quite different from what I’d used previously, and I needed to use a simplified style for the Quick Green Jobs Guide and other booklets in that series.

As a JIST author, I also have needed to develop skills related to promoting my writing, such as the ability to make a good impression in a television interview.

Our economy does not have many obvious career paths for humanities PhDs, or in some cases the obvious careers don’t have a good outlook. When you look for work, it probably will help you to think not in terms of occupations but in terms of skills you want to use. I was not looking for “career information developer” as a job, and I would have missed the opportunity at ETS if I had confined my job-hunting to the obvious research-and-writing occupations such as journalist. You can increase your options if you avoid stereotyping yourself with a pat occupational label.

Because your career path is not obvious, your career is going to have many ups and downs. When you encounter adversity, don’t lose faith in your long-term prospects. When I was downsized from ETS, my 16-year-old daughter said to me, “Think of this as an adventure, Dad.” And it does help to put your career downturns into the larger context of the narrative arc of your life. Think of your immediate career difficulties as a plot complication and not as a tragic denouement.

The other really important lesson to take away is the importance of networking for finding jobs. Although I found my job at ETS through a job posting, this is no longer the most effective method. I found my job at JIST through networking with a JIST author whom I knew from a professional association. I started as a consultant, preparing the data-intense content for books, and I gradually increased the amount of prose I wrote and the number of hours I worked for JIST.

In my panel presentation at Rutgers, I discussed networking at greater length, but I’m not going to discuss that here because it would duplicate other blog entries.

My story was not greatly different from what the other panelists had to say. Although the specifics of their careers differed from mine, we all pursued new interests and developed new skills over the course of our careers, and we got hired for almost all of our jobs through networking. Humanities PhDs have tremendous potential for rewarding careers if they are willing to do the work (which never ends) of discovering and fulfilling their potential.

GE Buys 25,000 Electric Cars To Kick-Start Market !!!

Friday, November 19, 2010 1 comments

Lowongan Kerja - It hopes that its purchase of 25,000 electric vehicles will drive the development of a network of charging stations, and other related products, which it produces.

Its first order is for 12,000 Chevrolet Volts, which will start to roll off GM's production lines this month.

GE will use them as company cars and lease them to corporate customers.

It intends to buy the 25,000 cars by 2015. It will use some of them in its own fleet.
The rest will go into its Capital Fleet Services business, which leases cars to corporate customers.

GM said it wanted to "lead wide-scale electric adoption and generate growth for its businesses".

GE's Jeff Immelt said he hope the purchase would "move electric vehicles from anticipation to action".

It predicts that the nascent electric vehicle market could be worth $500m (£310m; 366m euros) in revenue to GM over the next three years.

General Motors Getting Ready For Profitable Future


Job Indonesia - A year-and-a-half after the US automotive giant General Motors (GM) filled for bankruptcy protection, the Cadillac factory in Lansing, Michigan, is still churning out cars. - Job Vacancy

The Grand River Assembly, which lies about 90 miles west of Detroit, is gearing up production, hiring hundreds of new workers and getting ready to start producing a Cadillac that will be both smaller and much less thirsty than those it used to make.

Lowongan Kerja - The model is a powerful symbol of a new beginning for the bruised carmaker after last year's $50bn - £31bn at current exchange rates - bail-out by the US taxpayer.

But symbolism will not do for GM's new chief executive Dan Akerson, a former telecoms executive and naval officer known for his keen, at times even combative, focus on figures.

They are beginning to look impressive. GM made $2bn net profits during the July to September quarter, a dramatic turnaround from a near-$1bn loss during the same period a year earlier.

"The results of the third quarter clearly point to the amount of progress that GM has made," says Mr Akerson, who also has a background in private equity investment.

With sales remaining strong during the last three months of the year, GM expects to make a profit for the year as a whole.

"Although we're a different company, it's worth noting that last time GM reported a profitable year was 1994," Mr Akerson says.

Making better cars
Dan Akerson, chief executive, General Motors Mr Akerson is known as a combative executive who focuses closely on financial figures
With Mr Akerson at the helm, GM is getting ready for the second leg of a long and painful journey.

The first, which was run by his predecessors Fritz Henderson and Ed Whitacre, was all about pushing through a harsh restructuring, all under the watchful eye of a board of directors representing the US government's 61% stake in the group.
The second phase of GM's revival is about to start as the government and its co-owners - the Canadian government and the union - get ready to pass majority control of the company back to private investors.

And it is clear that this phase will have to be product-led.

In recent years, the quality of many of the models made by GM has fallen short of the quality products delivered by many of its rivals, and so the company reputation has suffered a great deal.

Mr Akerson is eager to fix that.

He knows well that building quality cars can be costly, so this year GM has spent close to $5bn on capital expenditure.

Next year, and in the years ahead, Mr Akerson is expected to spend even more - and he is eager to pass on the message.

"We've just started doing a better job in marketing our brands to consumers," he says.

International challenge
But making better cars will not be enough without further changes to GM's corporate culture, as well as a bolstering of morale in a company that has seen tens of thousands of jobs go in a matter of months.
Improved financial risk management is also vital, according to Mr Akerson, who has been pushing for closer monitoring of what profit margins different units within the firm deliver, as well as for a more deliberate approach to currency risk.
And of course, Mr Akerson says, "we continue to be vigilant in reducing cost".
But the biggest challenge will be to rebuild relations with both customers and government officials, workers and dealers, across the pond.
This is particularly important in Germany, the largest car market in Europe, where deep wounds were inflicted last year during lengthy talks with both the unions and the government.
Mr Akerson is fully aware of what needs to be done. "We know we have much work to do. We still have to fix Europe," he says.
Private investors, preparing to buy GM shares, will hope he also knows how to do it.

Classroom Subjects versus Workplace Skills

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 0 comments
Education is supposed to prepare us for our careers, but sometimes there appears to be a disconnect between the two. While in college, we are often forced to take certain required courses although we can’t see how they can ever help us in our careers.

Some of these courses may contribute to noncareer goals in life, such as being good citizens. History and political science courses obviously serve this purpose, and I wish that some of the people who are presently shouting about the Constitution had a better grounding in those subjects. Courses in the arts and literature may contribute to our leisure-time enjoyment of these fields.

But let’s set aside these “area requirements,” as they are often called, and focus on the required courses within college majors. Even some of these seem to contribute little to preparing for the putative career goals of your major.

This is true for math courses in particular. Sometimes it seems as if everyone studies more math in college than they ever will use in their careers. I was struck by this thought as I worked on Panicked Student's Guide to Choosing a College Major: How to Confidently Pick Your Ideal Path, which is due out in April of next year.

However, there are good reasons why so many math courses are required.

The curriculum developers who design the majors want you to be able to understand the people you’ll work with. In many jobs, you do not use a lot of math but work with people who do, so with a background in mathematical concepts you can understand how these other workers produce their results and can tell the difference between meaningful and misleading results. You can challenge the output of those workers and ask them intelligent questions. For example, market research managers need to understand the procedures of the statisticians who design market surveys. Physicians need to understand the procedures of the medical science researchers who make new discoveries about disease processes and pharmaceuticals. Many different kinds of workers need to understand how to interpret statistics about their field, and you can’t really understand the meaning of a statistic unless you know how it was derived, including the sampling method that was used. (I’ve blogged elsewhere about the importance of the sample in studies.)

Another consideration is the hard-to-predict outcomes of your career. While you’re still in college, you may not know that you’re going to specialize in research, which requires quite a lot of math in most industries. Or you may not realize that you’re going to change careers 10 years out and will be able to retrain much faster if you have a good command of math.

Math is not the only subject that college students need more than they may realize. Employers often find that new hires are woefully deficient in verbal skills. A 2007 report (PDF) by the National Endowment for the Arts surveyed several recent studies and found “simple, consistent, and alarming” indications that the reading and writing abilities of workers are not meeting the needs of employers. A 2004 survey by The College Board of 120 corporations in the Business Roundtable found that one-third of workers fall short of employer’s expectations for writing skills. The survey also found that writing is a regular part of the job for two-thirds of all employees. So if you think that your major requires you to take more English courses than are necessary, maybe you’re not aware of what level of writing skill your career goal actually will demand. And, as with math skills, the success of an unanticipated future change in your career may hinge on your verbal skills.