Are Colleges or Companies Responsible for Developing Business English Skills?

Businesses need to be responsible for certain skills that post-secondary schools simply don’t impart

What does today’s preponderance of liberal arts majors in North America teach us about the approach businesses should take with their employees’ Business English proficiency? More than you might think.

An article recently published on the website Good observes that there’s a “clear mismatch” between the jobs that are, and will be, available—think science, engineering and tech openings—and the skills that today’s jobseeker has. Basically, too many people are picking a major that doesn’t teach them the skills they need to actually find a job.

And that has some politicians arguing that higher education needs to morph into a “trade school–like experience” that can “spit out graduates ready for the workforce.” It’s a line of thinking that leads to the key question: Should post-secondary schools or employers be the one to impart the necessary skills? And it raises another key question: What if that necessary skill isn’t related to, say, computer programming? What if it’s Business English?

In the perfect world, all newly hired employees would arrive with proficient Business English skills so they can communicate across the world with colleagues, partners, suppliers, etc.—but we know that’s not the case. In fact, a 2010 GlobalEnglish survey found that only 7% of global employees are convinced that their Business English skills are “sufficient,” and 70% want to improve those skills this year.

Global companies can accelerate their success by acknowledging the reality: They can’t sit around expecting schools to equip jobseekers with the Business English skills they need. And when a company takes ownership of support skills like Business English, they’re making an investment that will lead to greater Enterprise Fluency™ and impressive results.

“Lifelong learning exists because industries change,” observes the Good article. Globalization is changing the business world in dramatic ways—business leaders are those who recognize the need to keep up.

How does your company support ongoing Business English development?



Posted in : Creating productive virtual and global teams, Global Business Challenges, Global Communication Best Practices, Global Enterprises Need Business English
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