Is Grammar Connected to Income?

A recent study by Grammarly says it is. While technology and the migration to digital communication have dulled our intentionality in this area, its importance hasn’t actually diminished. The sample for study by Grammarly was 100 LinkedIn profiles of native English speakers in the consumer packaged goods industry. Each of the 100 had worked for no more than three employers over the first 10 years of his or her career. In those 10 years, half were promoted to director level or above, and the other half were not. Below are some of the findings:

  • Fewer grammar errors correlated with achieving higher positions. Those who failed to achieve director-level positions within the first 10 years of their careers made 2.5 times as many grammar mistakes as their director-level colleagues.
  • Fewer grammar errors correlated with more promotions. Professionals with six to nine promotions made 45% fewer grammatical errors than those who had been promoted one to four times.
  • Fewer grammar errors correlated with frequent job changes. Those who remained at the same company for more than 10 years made 20% more grammatical mistakes than those who held six jobs in the same period. This could be explained in a couple of ways: People with better grammar may be more ambitious in their search for promising career opportunities, or job hoppers may simply recheck their résumés more often (between jobs).

CEO of iFixit, Kyle Wiens, wrote the following in a blog post for the Harvard Business Review: “If you think an apostrophe was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, you will never work for me. If you think a semicolon is a regular colon with an identity crisis, I will not hire you. If you scatter commas into a sentence with all the discrimination of a shotgun, you might make it to the foyer before we politely escort you from the building.”

So what does this mean? It means that grammar does matter. And it should be noted that running your writing though a spell check doesn’t guarantee flawlessness. For example, English natives should be well versed in the differences between the following (sadly) common mistakes that spell check will likely not fix:

  • There, their and they’re
  • To, two and too
  • Its and it’s
  • Your and you’re
  • Knowing when to use “good” and when to use “well”

Using good grammar communicates some really important traits you possess to colleges, clients and superiors. Attention to detail, critical thinking and intellectual aptitude, to name a few. So dust off that old grammar textbook, or hey, search the web! Several excellent sources of learning on this topic are available at your fingertips.