Why is learning English so vital to your global career?

No matter where you’re from, if you dream of working for a large organization you’ve probably realized the importance of communicating effectively in English. But, there are many types of English you can learn: Below are several reasons why business English, in particular, is so...

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why english is vital to your career

No matter where you’re from, if you dream of working for a large organization you’ve probably realized the importance of communicating effectively in English. But, there are many types of English you can learn: Below are several reasons why business English, in particular, is so vital in today’s global business world and your career progression. In fact, according to the 2013 Globalization of English research, 93 percent of knowledge workers indicated a sense of urgency when it comes to improving their English skills.

Business English usage is growing rapidly

Because of our increasingly connected workforce, adopting a universal business language has become a priority of many companies around the world. Business English proficiency allows for more effective global operations as a result of stronger collaboration and communication between employees and business divisions. Business English also makes complex interactions between the company, partners, vendors and its customers more consistent. That’s why, according to this English language infographic, 80 percent of global companies say English is needed to succeed in their business. 

Business English makes you desirable to MNCs

Just as computer skills are vital, so too is the ability to effectively communicate in English when looking for a job at a global organization. According to the Harvard Business Review, many multi-national corporations (MNCs) are establishing English as their corporate language, among them:

  • DaimlerChrysler: Mandates proficient English language skills as an employment prerequisite.
  • Nokia: Supports its English mandate with global training courses in over 40 countries.
  • Microsoft: Microsoft’s MACH program help assimilate international employees.

That means you wouldn’t even be able to get “your foot in the door” without having the English language listed as a skill on your resume.

Business English is a hiring criterion

The companies above and many others realize that strong communication skills improve business performance. That’s why some companies require a certain level of English before they’ll ever consider hiring you. Many even map required levels of English proficiency to certain job roles and career progression.

If your English isn’t good enough today, that’s all right. Top executives, along with talent management personnel, proactively recruit and train new employees that have not only basic English proficiency, but also advanced business knowledge and skills. That is because these employees help the company grow and innovate as they expand their worldview. There are enterprise-grade business English programs available, like Pearson English ‘One’, to help improve your English skills as you work.

English encourages advancement

Companies that mandate English, like Japanese company Rakuten, have seen rapid changes in their corporate culture. According to a 2013 Economist article, “One Monday morning in 2010 [Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO], whose own English was perfected at Harvard Business School, unleashed ‘Englishnization’ on his thousands of stunned employees.” The company, an online shopping space doing business globally, requires all employees to demonstrate English competency. This Englishnization is cited for improving both employee and company performance.

Career progression in this connected world requires consistent improvement so you can work optimally across borders, cultures and time zones. There’s no denying that business English skills are vital to your career.

This is just the beginning of a new agenda for business English. Join the debate by tweeting #englishforwork.

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