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Learning and Development | 6 Min Read

Understanding typing speed and its importance for organizations


With the evolution of technology, typing skills have become an essential requirement for all employees, regardless of their field or department. Organizations can use an online typing test to successfully determine if the typing speed of their employees and prospective hires is adequate for the job role or not.


Understanding typing speed

The standard unit of measurement for typing speed used in any online typing test is words per minute (WPM). WPM, as the name suggests, is a measurement of the total number of words an employee or candidate types in one minute.

However, measuring typing speed is not as simple as taking the total number of words written, divided by the number of minutes for which one has been typing. An employee writing a casual, internal email may use shorter words, while an employee writing a white paper will use more technical terms, taking more time to type than the other employee. This makes it important to standardize what counts as a single word.

The online typing test may specify a single word as a certain number of characters, which is generally five characters. These characters can be punctuation, spaces, keystrokes, and numbers. However, using the shift key, backspace, or the delete button will not count. The gross WPM is the total number of characters written by an employee, including spaces, divided by five and then divided by the total time they took (in minutes).


Typing fast is not proof of accuracy, which is why the net WPM must also be calculated. Net WPM is a measure of the speed as well as accuracy of an employee. An employee who may type fast but with multiple mistakes will have a lower WPM as compared to an employee who may have a low typing speed but has zero mistakes.

For organizations, net WPM is a better measure for testing employees and candidates as there are lower chances of senior employees having to edit the work of employees with higher net WPM.

To calculate net WPM, the gross WPM must be calculated first. Subtract the number of mistakes remaining in the document. The total number of mistakes made, including those that were corrected, can also be subtracted, but it is a better idea to encourage corrections. It is possible to reach a high net WPM while making corrections as well.



Good typing speed

The workplace has become much more advanced and tech-enabled, which has made good typing speed a necessity for all employees. On average, 40-60 WPM is considered to be a decent typing speed in the workplace. There may be certain job roles that only require employees to have a typing speed of 10-20 WPM, while others, such as those in transcription or data entry may require even more than 90 WPM.

A major factor that influences the typing speed and accuracy of an employee is their technique. Let’s explore some efficient typing techniques.


Typing techniques

Touch typing: This method involves using all ten fingers to type without looking at the keyboard. Touch typing requires employees to rely on their muscle memory to press the right keys. With an average typing speed of 40-60 WPM, touch typing helps reduce hand and wrist strain.

Hunt-and-peck: This method involves employees actively searching for every key using their eyes, and only using a few of their fingers to type. Hunt-and-peck typing is less accurate and slow, with average typing speeds of 20-30 WPM.

Hybrid typing: This typing technique is a combination of the hunt-and-peck and touch-typing techniques. It depends on the familiarity of the employee with the keyboard, where they use touch-typing for some parts of the keyboard and may resort to hunting for the keys that they are less familiar with. While hybrid typing is generally slower than touch typing, some employees may even manage up to 70 WPM.

Thumb typing: This technique is mostly used with smartphones, gaming consoles, tablets, and other smaller digital devices, where the candidate is required to use thumbs to enter text in the absence of physical keyboards. 36 WPM is the average typing speed with thumb typing.


The advantages of good typing speed

Productivity: One of the biggest reasons why an online typing test should be used is to gauge the productivity of existing employees or prospective hires. Knowing the typing speed and accuracy of employees and candidates can help understand how well they would complete tasks in different job roles.

Accuracy: An online typing speed test can also help measure the typing accuracy of candidates and employees. Individuals with higher net WPM are generally able to produce more accurate content. This translates into less time spent on hunting errors and editing the work.

Digital responsiveness: Speed and accuracy are pertinent in today’s digital world where customers don’t want to wait for answers. Digital communication is fast-paced and to remain relevant, organizations need to be alert, shooting off responses without delay.



What are the different typing speeds?

Average typing speed (40-60 WPM)

There are several job roles within an organization that do not involve a lot of typing, and employees may require only average typing speed. Positions in sales, analytics, customer service, or education are examples of job roles that may not require more than 40-60 WPM typing speed.


Moderate typing speed (60-80 WPM)

For job roles that involve moderate to high amounts of typing, employees should ideally have a higher typing speed of around 60-80 WPM. Journalism, administration, research, reporting, etc., are some of the examples of job roles that require higher typing speeds.


High typing speed (80+ WPM)

There are several job roles that focus first and foremost on typing, where employees may spend 90% of their time or more, typing on a keyboard. Positions that revolve around transcription, content creation, data entry, technical writing, programming, data entry, etc., are the job roles that require a high typing speed of 80+ WPM.


Eight tips to improve employees’ typing speed

1. Find the best place

Before beginning to type, it is important to be comfortable. Lack of comfort will affect the ability to focus, which will reduce interest in the task, and negatively impact the performance. Offering employees an ergonomic chair that is comfortable and supports the back is important for improving their typing speed.


2. Slow beginnings are okay

To enhance typing speed and accuracy, it is important to start ‘slow’. Rushed efforts are not always fruitful. The focus at first should be on understanding the basic concepts of typing, like hand positioning, practising basic words, etc. This will help employees get familiar with typing.


3. The hand placement is important

The left-hand fingers should be placed over the ‘A’, ‘S’, ‘D’, and ‘F’ keys, and the right-hand fingers over the ‘;’ ‘L’, ‘K’, and ‘J’ keys, with both thumbs over the spacebar. This positioning allows fingers to reach all keys with ease.


4. Prioritize accuracy

It is crucial to first ensure that employees are typing correctly. Typing quickly but with errors will make employees slower. So, focus on accuracy before trying to type faster.


5. Avoid looking at the keys

It may be difficult at first to not look down at the keys, but looking at the screen to identify typos and fix them without looking down will help enhance accuracy. Moreover, this will make it easier for employees to memorize key placements.


6. Mistakes are acceptable

It is okay to make mistakes when typing. But it is necessary to reduce and limit the number of mistakes made while typing over time. With time and practice, employees would be able to delete and re-type misspelt words immediately.



7. Set goals

It is not possible to track employee performance if there are no goals. To keep improving typing speed and accuracy, set goals for employees. Try to increase their speed to a certain WPM and use an online typing test to track their improvement.


8. Keep practicing

Keep working on typing skills to see actual improvement. Employees should be encouraged to practice every day.


Test typing speed with Mercer | Mettl

Mercer | Mettl offers scientifically validated online assessments that organizations can use to evaluate their employees and prospective hires. The online typing test by Mercer | Mettl can help assess an individual’s ability to accurately and quickly type while they work with text-based information. Including this online typing test in the recruitment process can help recruiters assess the typing speed and accuracy of candidates in an objective manner. Current employees can also benefit from this online typing test as the results can help identify areas of improvement and provide employees with constructive feedback and insights to help them improve.




The typing speed of the employees can significantly impact the productivity and efficiency of an organization. Different typing speeds and accuracy are required for different job roles; therefore, the online typing test should be customized accordingly.



What is a good typing speed for a job role?

Is 30 WPM typing speed considered to be good?

How fast is a professional typist?

Originally published July 5 2024, Updated July 5 2024

Written by

Vaishali has been working as a content creator at Mercer | Mettl since 2022. Her deep understanding and hands-on experience in curating content for education and B2B companies help her find innovative solutions for key business content requirements. She uses her expertise, creative writing style, and industry knowledge to improve brand communications.

About This Topic

Pre-employment tests, also known as pre-hiring tests, are online and offline assessments to ascertain candidate fitment for a particular job role. The assessments can be conducted to measure a candidate's technical skills, aptitude, personality traits or on-the-job behavior.

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