Numerical reasoning is more than just basic math. It’s the ability to think logically and come to reasonable conclusions, and it’s vital to success in many career fields. What is it and why do you need it? We’ll give you the answers!
You may be good at math, but how are your numerical reasoning skills? Beyond basic calculations, numerical reasoning is important in your career. Ever seen a chart or graph? Solved a word problem? Used data to make business decisions? Then you’ve used numeric reasoning, a skill that is increasingly more important in today’s workplace, no matter your field.
In this article, we’ll discuss numerical reasoning and how it might affect your career path, including:
Why is numerical reasoning important?
What is an example of numeric reasoning?
How can numerical reasoning affect your career path?
When you hear the word “numerical,” you probably think of math, and the act of calculating numbers, like addition, subtraction, multiplying, or dividing. However numerical reasoning is a bit different because it utilizes higher-order math skills. Beyond rote calculations (which are indeed important), numerical reasoning is determining how to tackle and solve problems that involve numbers. It is a type of critical thinking that allows you to understand the "how" and the "why" of numerical problems.
In the workplace, numerical reasoning skills are often required when:
Pinpointing business concerns and opportunities
Utilizing numerical data to arrive at logical conclusions
Pulling out data from charts and graphs and applying it to affect business outcomes
Numerical reasoning requires more than calculating a list of numbers. You need to be able to “think out” the answer to a problem to arrive at the correct answer. Some examples of numerical reasoning questions include:
Alex left his office at 4:00 PM on Friday and traveled 765 miles before arriving at his desired destination at 7:00 AM the next day. Assuming that his office and destination are in the same time zone, what was Alex’s average speed, in miles per hour, over the course of his trip?
Susan earns $2,500 per month but always has to spend 45 percent on expenses that are due at the end of each month. Out of her total expenses, a quarter is dedicated towards utility payments, and out of all utility payments, one quarter is comprised of air conditioning costs. How much did Susan spend specifically on her air conditioning bill?
Determine the next number in this pattern: 1, 4, 9, 16, __
The table below sets out the revenue, costs, and profit for XYZ Company, a company offering virtual reality software to create your own space travel simulations.
The company hired new sales and advertising executives in 2022 and projected a 10% increase in profits. The salary for these new executives is equivalent to a $5m rise in variable costs. Assuming fixed costs don’t change, what is the projected profit for 2023?
Can you improve your numeric reasoning skills?
It is possible. First, brush up on your basic calculation skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, ratios, etc. Then apply these skills to your everyday life:
Take some practice tests to identify areas of weakness.
If you need to add something up or divide something into equal parts, don’t use a calculator.
Try out some math games on your computer or Smartphone.
Do some exercises that allow you to interpret and analyze data found in charts, graphs, and tables, which will strengthen your ability to extrapolate conclusions.
Even if you’re not in a STEM-related job, numerical reasoning skills can benefit your career and make you attractive to potential employers. It means you can assess a situation, choose strategies to solve the problem, and understand how to apply these strategies. It’s the ability to understand and employ data that you might see in charts, tables, and graphs. While these skills are vital for fields such as engineering or data analysis, modern employees need numerical reasoning skills, regardle and helps the company make productive and profitable decisions.
More than 75% of Fortune 500 companies companies now use psychometric assessments as part of their hiring processes, including numerical reasoning. While the tests might be challenging, a numerical reasoning test can provide an objective analysis of skills and abilities. A strong result on a numerical reasoning test will give hiring managers a better picture of your ability to analyze and interpret data given in the form of tables, charts, and graphs, and come to logical and sensible conclusions, which will predict your success in a given position.
Looking for a job that fits you? Check out Career.io’s Career Exploration tool, which will help you identify careers that interest you, identify your skills and goals, and map out a path to get you there.
Numerical reasoning is determining how to tackle and solve problems that involve numbers.
Most jobs require some degree of numerical reasoning, but it is most prevalent in fields such as finance, business, computer science, and engineering.
You can improve your numerical reasoning tools, but it will take some practice.
Many companies use numerical reasoning tests in their hiring process, which can provide an objective analysis of the candidate’s skills and abilities in that area.
Jennifer Inglis is a freelance writer and content creator with extensive professional expertise in advertising, media analysis, teaching, writing, and literature. Prior to working for Career.io, Jennifer was a public school teacher, teaching courses in college and career readiness, writing, and public speaking. Jennifer has a master’s degree in Teaching, and is the author of two published novels.