What is a good typing speed for employees & why?

What is a good typing speed for employees & why
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One evergreen measure of success for a company is how efficiently and effectively its employees complete their work. As technology has evolved, many employees need basic typing skills to do their work.

But how can you determine if your employees’ and prospective hires’ typing is appropriate for their roles? You must establish a good typing speed to ensure workers meet your company's demands. 

In this article, we will explore good typing speed, why it's important, and how you can help employees get faster at typing.

Understanding good typing speed

As the world has become more dependent on technology, especially in the workplace, quick typing has become a necessary skill for all. Employees now leverage their typing skills in the workplace, giving them a competitive advantage.

Typing speed refers to how quickly someone can accurately type words and characters. It’s calculated in words per minute (WPM). 

A good typing speed in the workplace is around 40 to 60 WPM. Roles involving more typing, such as data entry or transcription, usually require employees to have a higher speed – around 60 to 90 WPM.

Whether creating documents, drafting emails, or inputting data, employees with faster typing speeds can complete tasks more efficiently, saving valuable time and increasing their productivity.

Determining a good typing speed for each role

As mentioned, the ideal typing speed for an employee depends on their role. Some jobs require only 10-20 WPM, while others require as much as 90+ WPM. 

Consider these factors when determining a good typing speed for positions at your company:

  • On average, how many words will your employee need to type daily?

  • Does the role require data collection? If so, how much?

  • Will your employee need to send several emails or correspondences?

  • How many reports will your employee need to write weekly?

  • Is this a customer-facing role that requires them to collect several customers’ information daily?

With these factors in mind, you should be able to determine an ideal typing speed for the role. For instance, employees that need to collect a lot of data or write extensive reports should have a faster typing speed. But employees who don’t need to type very much each day or aren’t in a customer-facing role can have a lower typing speed.

The different typing techniques

An individual’s typing speed depends on their technique, which heavily impacts typing accuracy. Below are four popular typing techniques.

  • Touch typing: Those who use this method use all ten fingers to type without looking at the keyboard. They rely on muscle memory to find the right keys. On average, touch typists can accurately type around 40-60 WPM.

  • Hunt-and-peck typing: With this method, an individual will actively search for each key with their eyes and use only a few fingers to type. Hunt-and-peck typing is much slower and less accurate compared to touch typing, averaging around 20-30 WPM.

  • Hybrid typing: This is a combination of hunt-and-peck and touch typing. Depending on how familiar the person is with the keyboard, they’ll use touch typing for some sections of the keyboard, then resort to hunting and pecking for the keys they’re less familiar with. Hybrid typing method is somewhat slower than touch typing, but some users can type as fast as 70 WPM.

  • Thumb typing: Most people use thumb typing when they use their smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, or other small digital keyboards. They use their thumbs to input text where physical keyboards are absent. Thumb typing is a modified version of hunt-and-peck typing. Thump typists can type about 36 WPM.

    The different typing techniques

Touch typing is usually considered the most efficient typing technique of all the typing methods. People tend to find that their typing speeds and accuracy increase with this method and experience less hand and wrist strain.

Why is typing speed important for employees?

Your employees’ typing speed is important because it directly affects your company’s productivity. An employee who types at a high rate is more likely to produce more work in less time. 

Equally important is your employees' accuracy and volume of errors when typing. Individuals who are less familiar with their keyboards tend to type less accurately and at a slower pace. Slower and inaccurate typing lowers your employees’ output, potentially reducing the revenue you earn. 

For roles that require consistent accuracy and extensive typing, you need to ensure your candidate can effectively produce the work. You can do this by including a typing test in your pre-employment assessment process to rule out any unqualified applicants.

Industry benchmarks for typing speeds

Each work industry has unique standards for what’s considered a good typing speed. 

Ideal typing speeds for office employees

In office settings, employees often communicate daily via emails, create and edit documents, and enter data into digital systems. They mostly work on a computer, so they need to be fast at typing.

There are different ideal speeds for different types of office workers. 

For example, executive assistants should be able to type thousands of words an hour in order to successfully take meeting minutes, draft emails, and more. The ideal speed is about 60 WPM – 3,600 words per hour.

Similarly, call center employees and customer service representatives need to make detailed notes at around 60 WPM for each call. With a higher typing speed, reps can quickly handle a larger volume of emails, improving your customers’ experience.

On the other hand, a receptionist that logs visitors’ names and entry and exit times may only need to type around 20 WPM. 

In project-based settings, an office employee's typing speed impacts their individual productivity and team collaboration. 

In team-based projects, employees may need to work on and edit shared documents simultaneously. A higher typing speed means they can make changes and contribute to the document in real time. This results in an efficient documentation process that saves time. The ideal typing speed for these roles is between 50-70 WPM.

Ideal typing speed for programmers

Coding is more than just typing. However, a programmer’s typing speed is an asset.

Software engineers, for example, often work on complex coding projects. They sometimes need to write several lines of code to create a functional product feature. Being able to translate their ideas and thoughts into code quickly allows them to create features at a much faster pace.

In some instances, programmers need to debug or troubleshoot code. A good typing speed helps them quickly make changes to the code so they can easily test their modifications. By reducing the time spent debugging a feature, they can focus on creating new products.

Additionally, programming includes a lot of repetitive work. Whether it's CSS properties or HTML, typing these pieces of code swiftly and error-free saves them time and allows them to focus on other aspects of their code, such as its functionality.

Ideally, programmers should type 70-90 WPM.

Ideal typing speed for transcriptionists and data entry specialists

These professionals rely heavily on typing speed and accuracy.

For audio recordings, a transcriptionist needs to swiftly and accurately type the words recorded, as they charge by the audio length they can transcribe in an hour. For reference, it typically takes a transcriptionist 2 hours to transcribe 30 minutes of audio

Data entry specialists need to input large volumes of data quickly and accurately to meet their deadlines. Those in the e-commerce industry may need to input product details, inventory information, and pricing into a specific system for many different products.

Inventory recording is critical to e-commerce sales, so data entry specialists must ensure their work is error-free. A higher typing speed improves their accuracy and how well they keep their database up to date.

A good typing speed for these roles ranges from 70 to 90 WPM, depending on the job's requirements. 

4 tips to improve employees’ typing speed

Four tips to improve eployees typing speed

Training your employees to improve their typing skills is easier than you might think. Provide them with these four tips:

Position your hands properly

Place your left hand over the A, S, D, and F keys and your right hand over the J, K, L, and ; keys. You can easily reach the other keys nearby by positioning your fingers over them. 

This hand placement is what helps touch typists, who rely on muscle memory, to type so quickly. 

Practice not looking at your hands

Focus on the screen when typing and memorize the position of the backspace, space, and enter keys. This way, you can correct errors without glancing at your keyboard while you work on memorizing the other keys. 

Ensure your hand and keyboard placement is comfortable

You may experience hand and wrist discomfort if your hand or keyboard placement is wrong when typing for long periods.

First, ensure you don’t angle your keyboard to one side. Center your spacebar with your body. Then, ensure your elbows are resting on your table or chair arms and slightly elevate your wrists so they are straight and parallel to the keyboard. Your fingers should be relaxed and curved over the keys, and your thumbs should hang loosely above the spacebar.  

Practice continuously

Muscle memory improves when you continuously execute a motion. So, consistently practicing the ASDF hand placements, touch typing, and proper positioning will make these steps easier to remember. 

These tips will help you improve your typing speed and accuracy, and over time, you’ll remember where each key is without looking.

FAQs

How can HR managers assess typing speed during the recruitment process?

Companies can use timed typing tests – like the ones from TestGorilla – to assess typing speed. These tests make it easy to evaluate a candidate’s typing speed and accuracy.

Can employees improve their typing speed?

Absolutely! You can improve your employees’ typing speed with consistent practice and resources like typing courses. 

Is typing speed the only skill to consider when evaluating candidates?

No. Hiring managers need to consider other factors alongside typing speed when selecting a candidate. These include previous experience, job-specific skills, relevant certifications, and communication and problem-solving skills.

Using TestGorilla to test typing speed

Our typing speed tests

TestGorilla offers four typing speed tests that can help you quickly evaluate your candidates’ typing skills. 

The 10-Key Typing (Numbers only) test measures candidates’ speed and accuracy in entering numerical data 2-5 integers using the number keys on a keyboard. Results are in keystrokes per hour (KPH). 

Our 10-Key Typing (Decimals and Operators) test takes it a step further by adding decimals and operators – addition (+), subtraction (-), multiplication (*), and division (/) – to numbers 0-9. Results are also listed in KPH.

There’s also the Typing Speed (Capitalization and Punctuation) test, which evaluates individuals’ ability to quickly and accurately type prompts with capital letters and punctuation. Speed is evaluated in WPM. 

Finally, our Typing Speed (Lowercase only) test presents applicants with lowercase-only words they’ll need to type as quickly and correctly as possible. Here, candidates’ speed is listed in WPM.

These four tests are available only with one of TestGorilla’s paid plans. However, we do offer a one-minute free typing test you can use before signing up for an account.

The benefits of using TestGorilla

By including TestGorilla’s timed typing tests into your recruitment process, you can objectively assess your candidate’s typing speed, accuracy, and efficiency. Our platform provides real-time results, allowing you to easily identify candidates who meet your typing requirements so you can make an informed hiring decision. 

Candidates and current employees can also benefit from TestGorilla typing speed tests. Each test identifies areas of improvement and provides users with constructive feedback and insights. You can also add these tests to your employees’ development programs to help them improve their typing skills over time. 

Conclusion

Employees’ typing speeds significantly impact your business’s efficiency and productivity. 

You must identify a good typing speed for each role you want to fill, as ideal typing speeds vary based on ‌job roles and industries. To make this task easier, use TestGorilla's typing speed tests in your recruitment process. You’ll receive real-time results and valuable insights about your candidates’ typing skills.  

You can also encourage your current employees to improve their typing skills with a few best practices. Embrace the importance of typing speed, foster skill development, and your company will see an improvement in productivity and efficiency. 

Ready to streamline your candidate testing process? Get started with our free plan or sign up for a demo today.

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