Answer Explanation - Academic Reading 4: A Workaholic Economy

Answer explanation - Academic Reading Passage Sample 4 - A Workaholic Economy.

Go to the Reading Passage - A Workaholic Economy.

Answer Explanation:

Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in reading passage 4? In boxes 27-32 on your answer sheet write:

YES              if the statement agrees with the writer
NO                if the statement contradicts the writer
NOT GIVEN  if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

Note: You must write 'YES/NO/NOT GIVEN' as answers to the questions 27 to 32. Abbreviation like 'Y, N, NG' or 'True/False' is not accepted here. Always follow the answer instruction.

Question 27:  Today, employees are facing a reduction in working hours.
Answer: NO.

Explanation: This is a tricky question as the first paragraph of the reading passage allures you to answer it 'YES'. However, the correct answer is 'No'. Let us examine:

The first paragraph gives an impression that the working hours have actually decreased. But this is a wrong interpretation. The exact lines are -

"For the first century or so of the industrial revolution, increased productivity led to decreases in working hours. Employees who had been putting in 12-hour days, six days a week, found their time on the job shrinking to 10 hours daily, then finally to eight hours, five days a week."

In fact. the above excerpt tells about the first century of the industrial revolution. As we know, industrial revolution occurred between 1760 - 1820. So the employees between 1820 to 1920, according to this statements faced a reduction in their working hours. What about the current time then? 

The answer to the question 27 could be found in the second paragraph, NOT in the first one. The second paragraph tells us that -

"Although the output per hour of work has more than doubled since 1945, leisure seems reserved largely for the unemployed and underemployed. Those who work full-time spend as much time on the job as they did at the end of World War II. In fact, working hours have increased noticeably since 1970 — perhaps because real wages have stagnated since that year."

The second sentence of the second paragraph outlines that ' Working hours have increased noticeably since 1970. So the answer is NO.

Question 28:  Social planners have been consulted about US employment figures.
Answer: NOT GIVEN.

Explanation: The only time the reading passage mentions about social planner is in the third sentence of the first paragraph. It expresses that "Only a generation ago social planners worried about what people would do with all this new-found free time. In the US, at least it seems they need not have bothered."

It says about working hours decreased after the industrial revolution and hence people had more leisure hours. Social planners were worried about what these people would do with the increasing free time. But this was not a problem in the US, eventually. 

It is not possible to tell whether social planners have been consulted about US employment rates or not from this reading passage. This is definitely 'NOT GIVEN', as a result.

Question 29:  Salaries have not risen significantly since the 1970s.
Answer: YES.

Explanation: The answer to this question could be found in the third sentence of the second paragraph, the same sentence that you used to confirm the first question's answer (question 27). It outlines that - "In fact, working hours have increased noticeably since 1970 — perhaps because real wages have stagnated since that year."

The word 'stagnated' means declined, fall, became inactive and so on. This clearly hints that the salaries have not increased significantly since 1970.

Question 30:  The economic recovery created more jobs.
Answer: NO.

Explanation: The second sentence of the third paragraph clearly reveals that current economic recovery has actually notoriety for its JOBLESS nature. Without any doubt, the answer is 'NO' here. The exact line in the third paragraph is -

"Indeed, the current economic recovery has gained a certain amount of notoriety for its “jobless” nature..."

Question 31:  Bailyn’s research shows that part-time employees work more efficiently.
Answer: YES.

Explanation: The answer to this question could be found in the 7th paragraph. (Frustrating for candidates who always look at the next paragraph for the next question's answer. This is a clear indication that answers are not always in serial). Look at the second sentence of this paragraph and you will find the part "She cites both quantitative and qualitative studies that show increased productivity for part-time workers..."

The answer to question 31 is thus 'YES'.

Question 32:  Increased leisure time would benefit two-career households.
Answer: NOT GIVEN.

Explanation: The only time the reading passage mention about the two-career households is in the last paragraph. It is mentioned that - 

"...Schor contends. She says the U.S. market for goods has become skewed by the assumption of full-time, two-career households..."

This is why we can't say whether increased leisure time would benefit two-career households or not.

NOTE: When a statement is 'False/ NO' and when it is 'Not Given?'

To say that a statement is 'False', you have to find a supporting statement in the reading passage that says otherwise. This means, to say something 'False', you have to prove it. And to prove it, you have to find a statement in the passage which says exactly the opposite. On the other hand, if no sufficient proof is present is in the reading passage to state a statement either 'True' or 'False', you can say it is 'Not given'.

Question 33:  Bailyn argues that it is better for a company to employ more workers because...
Answer: C.

Explanation: 7th paragraph reveals the answer to this question. This paragraph starts with a statement made by Bailyn. The 3rd & 4th lines of this paragraph state that "Companies that employ more workers for less time also gain from the resulting redundancy, she asserts." "The extra people can cover the contingencies that you know are going to happen, such as when crises take people away from the workplace." which was argued by Bailyn. The last statement is a synonymous of 'people are available to substitute for absent staff.

This is why the correct answer to this question is C - people are available to substitute for absent staff.

Question 34:  Schor thinks it will be difficult for workers in the US to reduce their working hours because...
Answer: A.

Explanation: The answer resides in the last paragraph of the reading passage. Schor stated that -

"The U.S. market for goods has become skewed by the assumption of full-time, two-career households. Automobile makers no longer manufacture cheap models, and developers do not build the tiny bungalows that served the first postwar generation of home buyers. Not even the humblest household object is made without a microprocessor. As Schor notes, the situation is a curious inversion of the “appropriate technology” vision that designers have had for developing countries: U.S. goods are appropriate only for high incomes and long hours.

Her statements clearly state that the only suitable answer to this question is A - they would not be able to afford cars or homes.

Question 35-38: 
The writer mentions a number of factors that have resulted, in employees working longer hours. Which FOUR of the following factors are mentioned? Write your answers (A-H) in boxes 35-38 on your answer sheet.

Answers: B, D, F, G.

Explanation: For these 4 questions, you have to find four factors (from the given 8 factors) that have been mentioned in the reading passage as the root cause of longer working hours, NOT the result of working longer hours.

Option A -  Books are available to help employees cope with stress: Plenty of books for helping employees to cope with stress is a result of people working longer. Not a reason for people to work more hours. This is why this is not an answer.

Option B - Extra work is offered to existing employees: This is definitely a reason for people to work even harder and for extra hours. This is, therefore, an answer.

Option C - Increased production has led to joblessness: This is not an option either as it is not related to creating extra working hours for employees.

Option D - Benefits and hours spent on the job are not linked: the 4th paragraph mentions that "quirks in the way salaries and benefits are organised that make it more profitable to ask 40 employees to labour an extra hour each than to hire one more worker to do the same 40-hour job." 'Quirk' in this sentence means 'idiosyncrasy'/ 'peculiarity'. This sentence makes it clear that people need to work more hours because benefits and duration worked by an employee are not related to the current job industry and this has increased employees' working hours. So this is a correct answer too.  

Option F - Longer hours indicate a greater commitment to the firm: the 5th paragraph gives evidence that this is also a reason for people to work for more hours. The paragraph includes - “People who work reduced hours pay a huge penalty in career terms,” Schor maintains. “It's taken as a negative signal’ about their commitment to the firm." This is why this is an answer as well.

option G - Managers estimate staff productivity in terms of hours worked: This has been mentioned in the 6th paragraph and this is definitely a reason people need to work extra hours. The paragraph says that - "...many corporate managers find it difficult to measure the contribution of their underlings to a firm’s well-being, so they use the number of hours worked as a proxy for output. “Employees know this,” she says, and they adjust their behaviour accordingly." These statements give a clear indication that people have to work hard because many managers calculate the output of an employee by the number of hours he works.

Option H - Employees value a career more than a family: This is not even mentioned in the reading passage. So this cannot be an answer.

Note: Since you have already found 4 factors (4 answers) you should not even look at option H.  You need to save this time and invest it in the next reading paragraphs. However, if you are not absolutely sure that your answers are correct, you should take a look at option H.

Note: You can write answers to questions 35-38 in any order. It does not have to be in alphabetic order. Thus the answers D, G, B, F and so on are also correct.  


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+1 # Marcell 2018-02-13 01:59
I have just got confused about the answer to question 27. How does anybody know that industrial revolution occurred between 1760 - 1820. So the employees between 1820 to 1920? Has IELTS already turned into a trivia game?

And how come the answer appeared in the second paragraph? I thought that IELTS always give question sequentially.
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