Which employee has the best maths skills? Not who you think

by Stephanie Zillman03 May 2013

Remember how loudly you would groan at the thought of maths class back in school? Well all those hours poring over equations may not have been worth it – less than a quarter of workers use complex maths skills in their day-to-day work.

According to the study by Northeastern University sociologist Michael Handel, most workers in the US don’t actually doing very much complicated maths at all. What’s more, high-end blue collared workers are the biggest maths users by far, even more so than bankers and finance workers.

Handel surveyed 2,300 workers across two separate two-year periods - from 2004 to 2006, and again between 2007 and 2009.

He found that high-skilled blue-collar workers, such as those in construction trades and mechanics, were actually the highest daily users of maths. On the other side of the coin, those workers in lower paid white collar roles such as clerks and sales workers used it the least.

High level white collar employees, such as those in management, technical, and professional occupations were the next biggest math users. Interestingly, the findings also suggested that high-skilled blue collar workers are also using more advanced maths skills than white-collared workers.


  • by Amy Gallagher 3/05/2013 2:33:52 PM

    I don't find this surprising my husband is a glazier and he always beats me when any maths is required I believe its because being on the job he has to quickly make calculations and has learnt to do these without the use of a calculator