Business English Communication Gaps: The Malaysia Edition (Part II)

Read about one employer’s frustration with the state of university graduates’ skills in Business English

We hear more and more often that universities alone have not been able to adequately prepare many employees for work in global organizations due to their lack of focus on Business English in school.

A recent article in The Star Online—the Internet edition of Malaysia’s leading English-language newspaper—entitled “Honestly, the English of grads is in the dumps,” describes a Malaysian employer’s experience with university graduates and their insufficient Business English skills.

Dr. Pola Singh recollects his frustration when reviewing resumés from college graduates:

“In the course of going through application forms for jobs meant for graduates, I increasingly come across applications which indicate that they have an ‘honest’ degree instead of an honours degree.

“At first I took it lightly and laughed it off, as I thought it was just a one-off thing.

“But when a number of applications mentioned the word ‘honest’ instead of ‘honours’ (even for senior positions), I begin to wonder if the candidates had actually made an honest mistake or whether they were not able to differentiate between the two words.

“My guess is that a number of local graduates are not aware of how an ‘honours’ degree should be spelt.

“I’m really appalled. It does not reflect well on the standard of English of our graduates.”

We’ve heard this story many times before from our customers; many employers and global companies looking to hire encounter the same issue as Dr. Singh. Many companies are suffering as a result of the gap in English skills taught in school and the Business English skills required to get work done in a global organization. We’ve written several posts on the disconnect of Business English skills in certain countries, including Business English skills in Singapore, Business English Skills in India and Business English skills in Brazil.

Only last month, we authored a post entitled “Are Colleges or Companies Responsible for Developing Business English Skills?” It’s clear to us—and our customers—that many university graduates simply don’t have the proficiency in Business English that is needed to successfully work in a global company. GlobalEnglish research shows that over 92% of employees of global corporations said that English is “required” or “important” in their jobs, let alone to be asked to come in for an interview based on an “honest” degree.

There is a clear paradigm shift happening: The responsibility for developing Business English skills is falling more and more to businesses rather than formal training programs. And with an ever-flattening business world and a high demand for qualified talent, can global companies afford not to invest in the Business English skills of their workforce?

Posted in : Being effective globally, Best practices for education and collaboration, Creating productive virtual and global teams, Global Business Challenges, Global Enterprises Need Business English, Improving productivity with Business English
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