Study declares Oshawa fourth biggest user of corporate jargon in Canada


Published January 25, 2024 at 2:16 pm

Photo credit: Toastmasters International

From touch base to piggybacking, corporate jargon is firmly entrenched in modern workplaces, especially in Oshawa, cited in a study by an online learning site as the fourth-biggest user of corporate speak in the country.

At the end of the day, Oshawa employees bring to the table jargon 8.8 times a day, substantially higher than the average of six for the rest of Canada, who clearly do not have their ducks in a row.

Corporate jargon, or workplace language, is intended to improve understanding and can be helpful for communicating efficiently and demonstrating expertise but certain words and phrases often end up creating more confusion and just get on people’s nerves.

Oshawa workers citing piggybacking as the most annoying phrase, while Canadians as a whole chose ping you as the least favourite in the rest of the country.

About 88 per cent of Canadians use jargon on a daily basis – four per cent admitted to using it more than 15 times a day – with low hanging fruit like put a pin it, circle back and deep dive also making the list for most annoying phrase.

Despite its less-than-favorable perception, just 20 per cent of Oshawa employees find corporate jargon annoying, according to the findings of the study by online learning platform Preply, which surveyed more than 1,000 Canadian residents to find out which expressions they find the most annoying and why we use them anyway.

Many of us are in the habit of using terms like take it offline and above and beyond, with 31 per cent saying they use jargon to save time by using shorthand or familiar terms and 27 per cent saying they use it to communicate better with colleagues.

The frequency with which employees used these terms decreased with age, the study found. Gen Z used business buzzwords the most frequently at work (eight times a day), and Boomers used them the least (five times a day).

The use of corporate jargon also varied across departments and levels of seniority. Management are the worst offenders for using corporate lingo, according to the study, followed by sales and operations. Legal departments are the least likely to use corporate jargon, likely due to the extensive use of technical and highly specialized terminology.

Touch base is the most common jargon phrase in Canada, with window of opportunity considered the least annoying and GOAT the most overused by Gen Z, followed by slay.

Other phrases considered ‘least annoying’ in the study (which found half of the respondents said they use jargon to “fit in”) include unpack, out-of-pocket, value-add, win-win, have (in) your back pocket, loop in and on your plate.

And that’s the bottom line.

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