Business Solutions

Why Brexit may increase need for English outside of EU

When the UK vote to leave the European Union was cast, the makeup of the British labor force was a major issue in many people’s minds. Over 2 million people from European Union countries work in the UK. They have been able to work in the UK largely because of Britain’s membership in the EU which eased requirements still applied to workers outside of the EU and the Commonwealth.

No one knows exactly what is going to happen as Britain begins its exodus from the EU, but if the departure fails to recognize certain long-held agreements, many of those EU nationals living and working in the UK may be asked to return home, and many UK workers and retirees may be asked to return to the UK. Negotiations could also lead to a more reasonable transition, and a continuation of shared labor agreements.

But if the underlying issue of work immigration remains a major influence on policy, it may prove politically difficult for the UK government and businesses to continue to employ foreign citizens in UK-based jobs. The loss of this talent would leave UK businesses with a deeper skills shortage than they already face, and place the UK at a global disadvantage for companies in countries who can attract younger, more aligned talent. One approach, as this 18 February 2016 article from The Guardian How can the UK overcome a national skills shortage? Think local suggests is to form partnerships between universities and business in order to better align programs with local skill needs.

But there is another approach that will likely be a stop gap, even if more radical domestic policy reform takes hold: hiring talented people virtually from other countries.

While many companies already outsource some of their roles, Brexit could drive additional needs. Those needs will only be fulfilled, however, if people have the right technical and business skills and can communicate well with English-speaking managers and customers.

Countries like India already have strong ties to the UK and have been leveraging their UK relationships to open doors in the EU. The result of the vote could lead to even deeper ties between Indian and the UK as Indian businesses concentrate on UK opportunities (a 2015 Grant Thorton Study, India meets Britain, places Indian-company employment in the UK at 110,000).

The only thing that is really known about the result of Brexit at this point is that it has created a two-year horizon of uncertainty for UK businesses. One of the best ways to shore up uncertainty is to take action that brings near-term stability. If the foreign worker status is in doubt, hiring virtual workers to complement them is an action that won’t be affected by Brexit. If the foreign workers stay or go, those brought on virtually who perform well, will likely find a way to remain valuable to the businesses they support. But that all hinges on technically-savvy workers around the world being ready to tap the British talent need by knowing the language that drives UK commerce…English.

Karine Allouche Salanon
Senior Vice President, General Manager
Pearson English Business Solutions

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Social Enterprises are facing the same Human Capital issues as Global Corporations

Not only do big corporations face the war for talent, this new research demonstrates how social entrepreneurs around the world face the same dilemma. RippleWorks Foundation, which connects leading expertise from Silicon Valley and the larger tech sector with promising social ventures around the world, released thought provoking research titled, “RippleWorks Global Entrepreneurship Research 2016”.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the terms, “social enterprise” and” social entrepreneur”, I love this definition provided by Ashoka: “Just as entrepreneurs change the face of business, social entrepreneurs act as the change agents for society, seizing opportunities others miss to improve systems, invent new approaches, and create solutions to change society for the better. While a business entrepreneur might create entirely new industries, a social entrepreneur develops innovative solutions to social problems and then implements them on a large scale.”

According to the findings, “63% of entrepreneurs said that their inability to access the talent they need would have high or critical impact on their businesses.” Finding talent to scale the solution is more difficult in the long run than fundraising, logistics, or regulation compliance! I found it amazing that it was the one area that grew more difficult over time, surpassing even money.

When you think about the access to talent becoming more difficult over time, it makes sense, since the needs of the organization change as it moves from an early funding stage to a funded late stage organization. New skillsets are needed, the size of the organization grows, and the layers of sophistication increase. But what can CEOs of these entrepreneurial endeavors do to get ahead?

The data points to the strongest way to handle this challenge is by training tomorrow’s leaders and growing internal talent, especially knowing the fact that it is more difficult to recruit for senior positions than entry-level positions. Retaining and developing talent needs to be a top priority with continual momentum. It’s important to know when to look to outside partners to broaden skills training programs too. “Global Healthcare in India, for example, partners with organizations like George Washington University and India’s National Skill Development Corporation to develop training programs on topics ranging from nursing to acute care to hospital management.” Furthermore, the report illustrates that CEOs need to dedicate a sizable amount of time to this effort on a daily basis. The silver lining of this approach to talent development is the ability to overcome scarce recruiting budgets for key talent, by selling them on the value of the organizational mission.

This mindset of providing internal training opportunities and offering an intriguing employee value proposition dovetails perfectly with the wave of millennials entering the workforce and the “tours of duty” concept. By increasing employee engagement, building internal talent leadership skills, and feeding the employee’s soul with meaningful work – this is the recipe for all businesses to support profit growth and channel the entrepreneurial spirit into a high performing organization.

Anya Eychis
Senior Manager, Content Marketing
Pearson English Business Solutions

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Is Learning English the Way to Tackle English-biased Research?

In order to change the world, we have to start by accepting it where we find it. When it comes to content on the Internet, the vast majority of it is written in English. Even non-English speaking countries like Germany, France and Spain produce much of their scientific literature in English. Eighty percent of articles, for instance, collected by the SCOPUS database of peer-reviewed articles, were written in English according to a 2012 study by Research Trends.

These objective facts point to the need to learn English to access the latest research, provocative thinking, and new insights. Research, provocative thinking, and insights aren’t exclusively written in English, but it is difficult to find them in many native languages, so the English articles, while they may bias perspectives, are the most accessible and easily found.

This leads to three important challenges that learning English can overcome. The challenges that can only be met through continuous learning and collaboration.

First, if you want to understand the state of an industry, a scientific or other academic domain, knowledge of English will provide access to the majority of the work available.

Second, if you want to discuss this work, even to add your insights, knowing English is a near imperative. If you plan to publish in another language, the work you cite will likely include English-language publications. It is nearly impossible to contribute to scientific and technical literature without knowing English.

The final challenge is about the transformation of the perceived English-language bias to include more languages. Part of this, of course, is due to the economic dominance of the United States, and before that, of England.

As other nations assert themselves, their scientists, researchers, writers, and thinkers, need to assert themselves too, because each language offers unique subtleties that are difficult to capture in other languages. In some ways, especially outside of science and math, English has made some of the work less precise since the language cannot capture the true meaning of a point or insight.

For that to change, people need first to be recognized for what they know and gain the respect of their peers. And that will likely, in part, be associated with English scholarship. Then, perhaps, those scholars can break the cycle, encouraging, even demanding publication in the best language for the content. It may be, however, that for the next several decades, even the work written in your native language will end up being discussed more in English. But at least a few young researchers will write more in Swahili or German or Vietnamese. And that is a start.

Karine Allouche Salanon
Senior Vice President, General Manager
Pearson English Business Solutions

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English as a Gateway Skill

English is currently the most important language of business and business travel. I speak French, but when I travel, I am much more likely to meet someone who shares speaking English with me, than speaking French. The following list offers evidence as to why English is dominant, but more importantly, why it is important to invest in reaching English proficiency.

    • English is a gateway to employment. Being bilingual makes people more employable in their country because they can help interface with English-speaking companies and tourists. English makes people more employable who immigrate to English speaking countries. Sixty of the world’s 196 countries have chosen English as their official language.

    • English is a gateway to accessing technical innovations communicated through business and academic research.

    • English is a gateway because it is spoken in many places around the world. Around two billion people speak English every day.

    • English is a gateway because it is the language of science.

    • English is a gateway because it is the language of the film industry, the computer industry, the airline industry and tourism. If you want to work in these industries, employers are likely to require some level of English proficiency before they will consider hiring you.

    • English is a gateway because it opens up English-speaking countries to visitors.

    • English is a gateway because it can be taught to children, increasing learning access for them—and it provides a way for adults to speak to their children who might already be learning English.

    • English is a gateway because those who seek employment in English-speaking countries make more money if they know how to speak English.

    • English is a gateway because it is the entry point to participation in business meetings, providing good customer service and helping shape and deliver good marketing plans.

    • English is a gateway because it opens up access to top universities.

    • English is a gateway because it is the entry way to literature and popular culture from Shakespeare to Harry Potter, from U2 to Lady Gaga, from The Big Bang Theory to Star Wars.

    • English is a gateway because it is the language of the Internet with nearly 50% of all content published in English.

Whether you plan to travel to an English-speaking country, seek employment in a business that does work with an English-speaking country, to immigrate for work, or to learn a new skill, or expand your perspective on a subject, the ability to speak English allows you to collaborate and communicate with colleagues and with customers, and to better participate in the wide range of activities that take place during a work day.

Learning English is one of the best investments you can make for yourself, or benefits you can provide to your employees, because it opens up so many other opportunities for economic, personal and social growth.

Some estimates suggest China has already passed the United States as the country with the most people proficient in English. The Chinese learn English to gain access to markets and to better understand market needs. English is a gateway language not just because it is a tactical advantage for those seeking employment, but because it is a strategic advantage for those who want to succeed in a global market.

Karine Allouche Salanon
Senior Vice President, General Manager
Pearson English Business Solutions

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We’re extremely pleased to have been recognized as a Bronze winner, with our One Focus product which only recently launched. Having this industry recognition adds weight to our product roadmap direction and vision for Talent Development and Management,” said Karine Allouche Salanon, Pearson English Business Solutions, CEO.

With more than 3,400 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories, The American Business Awards are the nation’s premier business awards program. All organizations operating in the U.S.A. are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small. More than 250 professionals worldwide participated in the judging process to select this year’s Stevie Award winners.

At Pearson English Business Solutions, we are helping organizations develop global talent management programs that are built on the keys for success:

· Creating a culture of lifelong learning
· Embracing the power of diversity
· Leveraging the latest technology

With these factors in mind, we engineered One Focus and launched in late January 2016. Looking forward to next year when we will be able to resubmit with strong usage data and performance history! Going for the Gold!

Learn more about how One Focus can keep your talent ready for the future of jobs: Product Information.

Anya Eychis
Senior Manager, Content Marketing

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Continuous Learning: Staying Relevant to the Talent Conversation

I am very excited about the dialog that Pearson English Business Solutions is creating around the future of jobs, and the need for continuous learning. Anyone who has been reading my personal blog knows that continuous learning is very important to me. I think continuous learning is critical to people staying relevant in the 21st Century job market.

New technologies launch every day. Sometimes they are just down the street from me in Silicon Valley, sometimes they are far away, (from me at least), in places like Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, Egypt, Morocco, Chile or Columbia. And we never know what these start-ups will force us to reconsider. Uber, Lyft, AirBNB and many others have spread far from their ori-gins to challenge long established business models like London Taxis. Not only are the disrup-tive technologies likely to come from anywhere, but because they can disrupt our business as-sumptions, we need to be much more aware of what is going on in the world, which means learning about cultures and economies outside of our personal experience.

From teams conducting market and technical research, to start-ups seeking funding and the people being hired to deliver services or sell products, many of the opportunities require a mastery of English to participate in collaborative work, to communicate with managers and customers — and while people willing to work are available, they may not have the English skills necessary to perform at the required level. And that is where businesses can help connect their local talent to continuous learning programs that help them bring English to their skill portfolio.

Mastery of English, like any other subject, requires discipline and dedication — and because the world is constantly changing, it requires learning how to learn continuously. To help with that, here are some of the key takeaways from my blog series on continuous learning:

  • Work with mentors to learn from them. Become a mentor to learn from others.
  • Take time out of your day or your week to connect the dots among the information that streams at you from e-mail, social media and meetings. You don’t learn well if you are just reacting. Take a lesson from your brain and create downtime to organize and make sense of what you are learning.
  • Get out of your comfort zone and learn by doing something different. But make sure it fits your lifestyle so you aren’t worrying about the kids or the dog while you are learning.
  • Be a connector. Reach out to people, and let them reach out to you. Figure out how best to navigate groups big and small to maximize learning opportunities when you travel.
  • Adopt what you learn by putting it into practice.
  • Say yes – keep space for spontaneity.
  • Hold your beliefs lightly.
  • Negotiate learning into your objectives.
  • The world of work is exciting and uncertain. The best insurance you can put into place against change is teaching yourself how to be agile and adaptive, and the best way I know to do that is to just keep learning.

    Karine Allouche Salanon
    Senior Vice President, General Manager
    Pearson English Business Solutions

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    Building a 21st Century Workforce

    “Talent is no longer a long-term issue that can be solved with tried and tested approaches that were successful in the past or by instantly replacing existing workers. Instead, as the rate of skills change accelerates across both old and new roles in all industries, proactive and innovative skill-building and talent management is an urgent issue.”

    That’s the view of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in its recent report — The Future of Jobs.

    The report details how recent pressures on recruitment and talent management will only intensify over the next five years as technologies, globalization and social changes continue to disrupt the world of work.

    Here’s our take on what it means for three key areas of your talent management program.

    For many jobs, the recruitment process has simply been a matter of matching candidates with the appropriate skills to meet the requirements of the open position.

    But according to the WEF report: “By 2020, more than a third of the desired skill sets of most occupations will be skills not considered crucial to the job today.”

    This means that a candidate’s ability to learn new skills is now almost as important as them having the skills needed for the job you are recruiting for today.


    “You can’t lift the hammer can you?” says the despondent father to his son in the recent GE recruitment ad.

    Well, according to the WEF Report he’s unlikely to have to: “By 2020, 36% of jobs will require complex problem-solving skills, compared to just 4% that will require physical strength or dexterity.”

    “Social skills – such as persuasion, emotional intelligence, and teaching others will be in higher demand than narrow technical skills, such as programming or equipment operation and control.”

    This means that training and development programs need to address general communications and social skills, as much as specific technical and operational skills.

    Succession Planning
    When business plans were geared towards stability, succession planning tended to favor those who could best emulate the leaders of the past.

    In the era of escalating change outlined by the WEF report, tomorrow’s leaders are likely to face vastly different challenges than their predecessors.

    This means as diverse a group of talent as possible must be given the opportunity to enter senior management, so that your leaders of tomorrow will not be stuck in the past.

    This infographic summarizes the key findings of the WEF report, while the full report can be found here.

    I welcome your insights and feedback.

    Anya Eychis
    Senior Manager, Content Marketing
    Pearson English Business Solutions

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