Survey Reveals Statistically-Challenged Executives and Reporters

First published: 12th April 2012

A recent survey was reported as showing that new employees were unsatisfactory. 37% of hires were considered average and 9% bad. "This means that nearly half of all hires in the organizations surveyed aren’t regarded as 'good' employees who exceed expectations for their roles," said Tony Pownall, general manager of Hudson, the company that carried out the survey of 500 executives in Hong Kong.

That sounds terrible... but think about it, what is an "average"? In this case 54% of new hires are above average, an excellent result! If, as seems reasonable, executives are comparing the latest employees with their past experience, then the current batch are better than their predecessors, and, in the next round of recruitment, executives should have revised their expectations upwards. Over the long term, exactly half of the employees should be above average, and exactly half below average.

So, I conclude from this survey that executives, recruitment companies and journalists have an inadequate grasp of mathematics.