IELTS Writing Band 9: Topic 1: Work and Carrer
About Topic 1
The Work and careers topic includes issues of opportunities and problems at work, ways of motivating and rewarding workers, the work/life balance, changes in patterns of jobs and work (for example, the growth in working from home), career choices and training, and occasionally the relationship between government and businesses or industries.
You are not expected to know any vocabulary connected to specialized areas of finance, marketing and so on.
Topic 1: Example Task
Some employers offer their employees subsidized membership of gyms and sports clubs, believing that this will make their staff healthier and thus more effective at work. Other employers see no benefit in doing so.
Consider the arguments from both aspects of this possible debate, and reach a conclusion.
Explanation of the Task
You should introduce the topic, present two or three ideas on each side of the discussion, and then give your opinion in the conclusion.
The following model essay shows you key words and phrases which you can use to increase your band score when discussing this topic, in both writing and speaking. The key words are highlighted in bold.
Explanation of the topic vocabulary and examples in Speaking
These words and phrases are listed in the order that they appear in the essay
1. productivity = the ability of people to produce useful results at work.
Example of using this vocabulary item in the IELTS Speaking Test:
‘My country is not as advanced as some other countries in our industrial sector. Productivity and quality are still quite low.’
2. to subsidise = to pay part of the cost of something, usually in order to help people.
‘The government could encourage children to be healthier by subsidising swimming lessons and sports coaching at weekends.’
3. output = the amount of work or goods produced.
In Europe, industrial output has decreased, maybe because of competition from producers in other continents.
3. work/life balance = the ability to work hard but also enjoy a good quality family and social
People are working long hours these days, and so their work/life balance is affected, leading to stress.
4. to motivate people = to give them positive reasons for working hard
If employees are given regular feedback, they will probably be well motivated and committed.
5. pay increments = pay rises/increases
In my country, pay increments have been very low because of the financial crisis.
6. perks = reward from an employer which are not financial (eg free lunches, a car etc)
Personally, I’d like to work for a company that gives lots of perks, because I would find this very enjoyable.
8. financial rewards = any form of money payment (salary, commission, pension etc)
Being a primary teacher may be satisfying, but the financial rewards are not high
9. bonuses = money given in addition to salary, usually in return for achieving targets Apparently some investment bankers can earn millions of dollars in bonuses.
10. incentives = any reward that makes people work harder
Some employers offer vacations or parties as incentives if the team hits its sales targets.
11. job satisfaction = enjoyment of a job for non-financial reasons
I get a lot of job satisfaction from my work at the wildlife centre, although the financial rewards are quite low.
12.target-related = dependent on hitting a target
My boss once offered me a target-related bonus, but it was almost impossible to achieve!
13. on the job training = training while working, not by leaving work to go to college etc
My sister has found that the on the job training she gets at her bank is very useful, and she has progressed well because of this.
14. ongoing training = training throughout your time in a job, not just at the start
I enjoyed my work at the airline at first, but I soon found that there was no ongoing training and my skills weren’t really developed.
15. day release programmes = programmes of training or education when employees can spend entire days out of work
I feel that employers should be much more flexible regarding training, for example by subsidising day release programmes or job exchanges with other companies.
16. career progression = the ability to advance your career
The problem with being a freelance photographer is that there’s no real career progression, unless you become very famous.
17. job prospects = the possibility of promotion or higher level work in future
I remember an interview when the employer told me there were excellent job prospects in their firm for young people. In reality, this was not really true.
18. to measure = to assess the dimensions of something
Job satisfaction may be important, but can we really measure it?
19. superficial = not addressing deep or important issues
I’m not a big fan of traditional music. I find the lyrics rather old-fashioned and superficial for modern listeners.
20. performance reviews/appraisals = meeting at which an employer gives feedback to a worker on their work over a fixed period.
I remember being worried about my job at first, but at my six month appraisal my manager told me she was pleased with my efforts.
21. redundancy = a situation where a worker loses their job because of changes in the company (not because of personal mistakes) (verb = to make someone redundant)
In my home town, the textile factories have closed and many people have been made redundant.
22. to restructure = to change the organisation of a company, usually in order to make it more effective or to save money.
We used to have a large training department in my office, but in our recent restructure it was eliminated and the staff were made redundant.
23. to downsize = to make an organisation smaller and employ fewer people
My father’s college used to employ almost one thousand people, but then it downsized and now has less than five hundred.
24. to outsource = to stop doing work inside the company and send it to other companies or other countries, usually to save money
Many American companies have outsourced their IT operations to Asian countries, where productivity is similar and salaries are lower.
25. the workforce = the total number of people working in an organisation, company or country The workforce in Northern Europe is skilled, but it’s also inflexible and much older than in
other parts of the world.
26. Human Resources (or HR) = the department in a company which manages recruitment, employment and training
When I graduate, I plan to work in the Human Resources area of the oil industry, possibly in the Middle East.