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Numeracy Skills: Definition and Examples

November 24, 2020

Fundamentally important to perform everyday job functions, numeracy skills reflect your critical thinking and problem-solving abilities and can lead to better-paying jobs. Because companies rely on big data more than ever to guide their decisions, strong numeracy skills can give you an instant advantage in the job market.

In this article, we will discuss what numeracy skills are, share examples of numeracy skills employees use in everyday tasks and provide tips for how you can strengthen your abilities.

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What are numeracy skills?

Numeracy skills refer to the ability to use, interpret and communicate mathematical information to solve real-world problems. These include the ability to understand basic math like addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. More advanced numeracy skills incorporate the use of graphical, spatial, statistical and algebraic concepts and the ability to interpret that data and apply it to real-world situations.

Related: Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples

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Examples of numeracy skills

Numeracy skills can include a wide range of abilities to understand and analyze information. Here are some main numeracy skills that you may regularly use in a work environment.

  • Basic knowledge of numbers
  • Calculation skills
  • Budgeting
  • Interpreting mathematical information
  • Understanding the relationships between numbers
  • Understanding trends
  • Measurement and data analysis

Related: The Best Job Skills to Make Your Resume Stand Out

How to improve numeracy skills

Strong numeracy skills can be learned and improved upon with time, effort and patience. Here are the basic steps you can use to strengthen your own math skills.

1. Determine what skills you need

Identify what numeracy skills are important for your career. If you need to better understand big data and interpret it to make decisions within your company, you need to be good at understanding figures. If you are a salesperson, you need to be able to quickly calculate your commission so you don’t lower the price too much on a product you’re selling. Rather than trying to improve all of your numeracy skills at once, identify one or two areas you need in your current role or one you are pursuing.

2. Find a training course to fit your needs

Look for math courses online or offline that help you improve specific skills. Some courses are offered for weeks at a time and can help you substantially improve your competency and confidence.

3. Practice

To maintain the skills you learned in your training program, use them regularly. Keep your skills sharp by using math games and puzzles online. This daily practice can take just minutes.

Related: How to Develop Your Skill Set to Advance Your Career

Jobs that require numeracy skills

While most jobs use numeracy skills in some capacity, here is a list of jobs where they are critical for success.

National average salary: $17.30 per hour

Primary duties: Market researchers gather and analyze data. They may help companies understand what products people want, how those products should be priced and predict purchasing trends. They may also help to develop and implement marketing strategies.

National average salary: $54,563 per year

Primary duties: Accountants examine financial records, ensure they are accurate and prepare financial reports. They are also responsible for preparing taxes and ensuring they are submitted and paid on time.

National average salary: $60,552 per year

Primary duties: A financial planner is an advisor who helps you organize your finances to help you prepare for retirement. Their primary responsibility is to help you grow wealth and achieve your financial goals. Financial planners help families with personal financial topics, including debt management, savings objectives and budgeting. They may also provide tax information, although they don’t prepare taxes.

National average salary: $91,717 per year

Primary duties: A mathematician analyzes data and uses mathematical techniques to find solutions for business, engineering and scientific problems. They also work to solve real-world issues that affect the computer, health care and space industries.

There are two kinds of mathematicians: theoretical and applied. Theoretical mathematicians perform research to expand mathematical theories and principles. Many of them teach in colleges during the year and spend summers researching. Applied mathematicians are focused on using mathematical theories to solve problems for companies and organizations.

National average salary: $95,310 per year

Primary duties: Economists collect and analyze data, evaluate economic issues, monitor trends and develop forecasts for a variety of issues, including interest rates, exchange rates, employment levels, energy costs, inflation and business cycles. They also develop methods for obtaining the data they need to perform these tasks.