Writing in a language versus being able to speak or converse in a language are two different things. The skill of writing in a particular language can be obtained via classroom instruction, assignments, books, and dictionaries. On the other hand, communicating effectively in spoken English can be challenging, especially when it comes to the pronunciation of certain words and getting the right intonation. One difference between writing and speaking in any language is that while writing one has time to edit or even delete and reword entire sentences or paragraphs. Speech on the other hand is fluid, spontaneous, and it’s not as easy to edit what has already been said.
Knowing how to speak English in a global market can have several benefits. For example, an employee who is fluent in English will benefit by being able to communicate with potential markets outside of a company’s home base. This will simultaneously benefit the employer by helping to expand the employer’s reach and profitability. Given the fact that in today’s economy, money and products are continuously moving between different countries and continents, it goes without saying that a common shared language is important. In many cases, that global language of business is English, which in turn makes it even more important to focus on spoken English.
Many multinational companies seek candidates who are proficient in the English language and who will be able to perform the job successfully. Language Testing International (LTI) has been providing language testing since 1992 to the corporate sector, with industries ranging from retail to hospitality. The assessments provided by LTI are accredited by ACTFL, and are recognized and accepted by major corporations, academic institutions, and government agencies. The tests offered by LTI include speaking, reading, writing, and listening sections. Each test is designed to determine the specific proficiency level that an individual has and ultimately provide a valid and defensible language credential. It is important that any business or organization know whether a potential candidate has the correct level of language proficiency for the position. With LTI, one can be assured that employees and job candidates have undergone the most rigorous language proficiency testing available in the industry. It is also worth mentioning here that in addition to helping organizations select the right candidate for the right position, LTI also has first-hand experience to overcome challenges associated with administrative burden and the cost of the hiring. LTI, by using remote proctoring services, makes language testing more convenient, without conceding the security of the process.
English, at the end of the day, is the global language of science, aviation, computers, and tourism. Additionally, knowing English increases a job candidate’s chances of getting hired at a multinational company, not just abroad but also in their home country. Research has shown that a third of learners in global markets, such as Asia, Europe, and South America, are learning English to apply for jobs in their home country. The same number of people have also learned English to be able to apply for a job overseas. Today, knowing English has become a necessity if one wants to enter a global workforce. Research from all over the world shows that cross-border business communication is conducted in English, and many international and multinational companies expect their employees to be proficient in English. Large global organizations such as Airbus, Samsung, SAP, Technicolor, and Microsoft have mandated English as their official corporate language. In addition, in 2010 the company Rakuten, which is a Japanese cross between Amazon and eBay, made it mandatory for their 7,100 Japanese employees to be able to speak English to be competitive in the world market.
Therefore, the importance of learning, and knowing how to communicate effectively in English in today’s global market cannot be understated.
- Global Business Speaks English – Harvard Business Review (Tsedal Neleey, 2012)
- Engaging and Integrating a Global Workforce – SHRM Foundation, https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/documents/3-15%20eiu%20theme%202%20report-final.pdf
- How to Successfully Work Across Countries, Languages, and Cultures – Harvard Business Review (Tsedal Neleey, 2012)
- The ACTFL English Study – Preliminary Report (June 2016)
- Assessing Evidence of Validity and Reliability of the ACTFL Speaking Proficiency Test (SPT) (2020)
- Importance of English in Employment – Deccan Herald (Jyothi, 2012)
Devyani Mahajan is an Industrial Organizational Psychologist, and her research interests include psychometric scale development, selection and assessment, and quantitative data analysis. She has a doctorate from Kansas State University and has worked with organizations in developing and validating selection assessments and has also enabled better decision making by utilizing standardized assessment methods.