Most recognize how vocabulary impacts their academic success. One of the best studies to highlight this fact is a 20 year study performed by motivational speaker Earl Nightingale. At Harvard University, he studied graduating college seniors’ vocabulary knowledge. He then went on to track the study participants’ careers for 20 years. He was subsequently able to demonstrate a strong correlation between vocabulary and career advancement.
Since then dozens of similar studies have demonstrated a direct correlation between vocabulary knowledge and career success. One study performed by Dr. Johnson O’Connor found a direct correlation between vocabulary and rank on the corporate ladder. In the study, a vocabulary test was taken by personnel at 39 large manufacturing companies. The scoring mechanism yielded a net maximum score of 272 points points on the test.
The test results were reported as follows:
Presidents and Vice presidents averaged 236 out of a possible 272 points
Managers averaged 168 out of a possible 272 points
Superintendents averaged 140 out of a possible 272 points
Foremen averaged 114 out of a possible 272 points
Floor Bosses averaged 86 out of a possible 272 points
In virtually every case-person, vocabulary test scores correlated with rank on the corporate ladder. By this simple test one cannot conclude that higher vocabulary (education) preceded advancement, versus those with advanced positions serendipitously developed greater vocabularies. However, it is highly probable that as the most qualified for higher positions continued to extend their education, relevant knowledge, skills and experiences, they became increasingly qualified for higher level positions.
While formal education (degrees, certifications, fellowship training, etc.) and organizational associations are required along numerous paths, other positions simply require ongoing learning and development in whatever manner is possible, with the ability to demonstrate your abilities. Put in the work, time and effort necessary to build a vocabulary for your desired income bracket.