The business world is in a continuous development. Businesses are evolving and activating in a diversified environment that doesn’t respect physical boundaries anymore. Even more, due to accelerated globalization, we now live in a world where any type of business has the possibility to extend over borders. This made language proficiency a very important business skill that will boost anyone’s career.
English has now become a global language for business all over the world to such an extent that it is the standard official language in certain industries such as the shipping and airline industries. It has resulted in the knowledge of English being a near-mandatory requirement for critical jobs such as airline pilots and naval officers, etc. Apart from having an impressive command of spoken English today’s competitive corporate culture demands an equally impressive command of written English as well. It is mainly because almost all forms of business communication such as emails, presentations, sales and marketing and even corporate legal documentation are now carried out in English.
However, in English-speaking countries, this essential business skill is quite scarce. Also, business managers just start to understand the impact it can have on their business.
English is the “lingua franca” (meaning “common language”) of not only international business, but also of all kinds of communication worldwide. This means it is useful for understanding and being able to share common experiences and references with your colleagues.
So naturally, the ever-increasing popularity of the English language means you must know the language well to succeed at your career and climb the corporate ladder. Now we are going to look more closely at why (and how) you should improve your English for business.
It shows your willingness to go beyond basic business standards.
Back in the early days of pre-globalization, knowing English was a plus. Like it or not, it was a mark of superior knowledge and sophistication. It made you look impressive to people.
Now, regardless of your background and upbringing, many bosses will automatically expect you to know the language. Even if you received education in a different language or come from a place where English is barely spoken. Today you are expected to know English.
It gives you an edge in other jobs as well.
If you have a full-time job or run your own business, but also do night shifts or part-time jobs to supplement your income, you probably already know that your English proficiency will give you an edge over other applications. Whether it is waiting tables, babysitting, being a shop assistant, helping with events or even walking someone’s pet dog, your knowledge of the English language may come in handy.
It allows you to travel.
If you have always dreamed of working for an international company or traveling around the world for business, English is the most likely language to help you communicate with strangers.
Good pronunciation always makes a good first impression.
Speaking and writing business English are two different skills you may write well, but unless you can speak clearly and fluently, you are unlikely to make an impact in the workplace. People do judge you by the way you speak. Also, the type of English that is spoken differs from place to place. American English isn’t the same as British English. There are in fact notable differences in accents and pronunciation. Similarly, in India it is acceptable to mix words from Indian languages with English to communicate something, leading to the formation of a “hybrid” (combined) language.
The disparity in English proficiency among industries has been narrowing, with the gap between the highest and lowest industries reduced nearly by half. Companies are investing more in English training, more adults are learning English on their own and more people are able to use English in the workplace. Some of the top industries relying on English, with fluency between 50 and 60 percent, include:
- Banking and finance
- Information technologies
- Travel and tourism
- Health care
- Engineering and construction
- Mining and energy
- Food and beverage