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The Decline of Global English Fluency

by: Sarah Joson

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 | Outsourcing News |

Non-native English-speaking Countries take the Global English Test

The English language has always been the universal language, and since procuring services and supplies from offshore locations has become very popular amongst IT companies, executives are still apprehensive when it comes to making transactions with vendors abroad.  The main hurdle, they say, is finding an offshore outsourcing hub with employees who not only understand and respond to basic conversations, but can also comprehend and give their insights to business presentations and discussions.  

Stephanie Overby of CIO US shared an article at PCAdvisor.co.uk, analyzing the results of a test done by GlobalEnglish, an online provider of English language instructions to renowned companies like Cisco, Procter & Gamble, and GM.

More than 200 companies from 76 non-native English-speaking countries participated in GlobalEnglish’s test. This aims to determine how well the participants know the language, how they use it via different platforms (written or spoken), how it is being used in varying situations - from brainstorming with the team to sales pitches with potential clients, etc.

The rating system is from one to ten, with one covering basic English skills, and 10 representing more complex tasks. The test results show that the average score of the participants is 4.15, a seven percent decline from the 4.46 grade posted in the previous year. This would then mean that for every 10 workers, four would not be able to communicate and grasp basic ideas during face-to-face discussions.

Meanwhile, 60.5 attained a score between 4.0 and 7.0, which is still acceptable and is only a few points below the intermediate level. This means that a large number of participants are not able to take on crucial roles during business meetings or handle presentations.

According to Alex Lowrie, Senior Director of strategic account management at GlobalEnglish, it is possible for the 2012 score to be lower than the previous year because companies that are venturing into the global market have premature strategies when it comes to leveraging the English language in business deals.

Based on the size of labor pool, the Philippines is the frontrunner when it comes to fluency in business English with a score of 7.11. This would mean that Filipino workers can participate in business meetings, comprehend complex matters, and provide inputs. India ranked second with 5.57, followed by Canada (5.45), Indonesia (5.28), and the United Kingdom (5.24). On the other hand, Colombia (2.75), Brazil (2.95), Turkey (2.97), Japan (3.40), and Mexico (3.50) did not perform well in the test.

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