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Business News/ Brand Stories / Do You Speak the Language of Employment?
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Do You Speak the Language of Employment?

Insights from the British Council's ‘Future of English: Global Perspectives’ report shed light on the significant impact of English language proficiency on employment opportunities worldwide

According to the report, English proficiency is strongly correlated with increased job prospects and career growth.Premium
According to the report, English proficiency is strongly correlated with increased job prospects and career growth.

23rd April is celebrated as World English Day to commemorate the birthday of English playwright, William Shakespeare. Today, we look at the English language – its evolution, usage and its future amid the rise of a more multilingual world, and in the wake of the widespread use of generative AI.

In 2006, linguist David Graddol forecasted the decline of English as a world language, assuming the rise of a greater number of regional lingua francas. However, today English is considered the global lingua franca with over 1.5 billion people speaking the language, followed by Mandarin Chinese (1.1 billion) and our very own Hindi with 600 million speakers (as per Ethnologue data). This may be a function of a more globalised world and the need for a common language.

English is considered the global lingua franca with over 1.5 billion people speaking the language
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English is considered the global lingua franca with over 1.5 billion people speaking the language

Interestingly, English is not a rigid language and has various versions across different geographies to help the local population converse more seamlessly. Over the years, over 900 words of Indian origin have been added to the Oxford English dictionary, along with words from other languages – underlining the truly global nature of the English language. Local variations of the language such as Hinglish (a blend of Hindi and English in India), Singlish (in Singapore, incorporating Chinese and Malay) and Nigerian English (in both Standard and Pidgin versions) have developed as local lingua francas, enabling greater collaboration.

The importance of English as an important 21st century skill cannot be denied. A majority of the global websites include content in English for a global audience. The advent of Gen AI has simplified building AI Tools using prompts in English, removing the need to code in machine languages. It is safe to say that most would benefit from having English speaking skills rather than not have them at all.In today's highly competitive job market, proficiency in the English language has emerged as a critical factor for professional success and advancement.

Insights from the British Council's ‘Future of English: Global Perspectives’ report shed light on the significant impact of English language proficiency on employment opportunities worldwide. According to the report, English proficiency is strongly correlated with increased job prospects and career growth. Employers across industries value candidates who possess strong English skills, as it enables effective communication in diverse work environments. This proficiency not only facilitates collaboration within teams but also enhances interactions with clients and stakeholders globally, leading to improved business outcomes.

As per Gauri Puranik, Head of English Programmes India, British Council,“As part of the Future of English survey, the British Council organised 14 roundtable discussions with policymakers, employers and policy influencers across various countries to discuss the trends in English language teaching and learning. Approximately 92% of the participants said that English was (very or quite) important to secure a job in their country. In India, we work with various government departments to formulate teaching pedagogies that consider the teaching of English as a subject alongside other languages, within India’s rich multilingual context."

The global Future of English report highlights that professionals proficient in English have access to a broader range of career opportunities. Many multinational companies and international organisations prefer candidates who can communicate in English, as it streamlines operations and ensures seamless global connectivity. This preference often translates into higher job offers and promotions for individuals with advanced English language skills.

“The rise in Indian learners taking English learning courses on Coursera emphasizes the importance of English skills as an enabler for professional success in today's job market, where interpersonal skills are increasingly valued. The popular courses focus on improving English skills for career growth, covering topics like effective email writing, networking, grammar, workplace interactions, and cultural sensitivity in diverse global settings," said Raghav Gupta, Managing Director, India and APAC, Coursera. “In the remote work era, strong business English skills offer more pathways to economic opportunities for Indians across the country."

English language proficiency enables professional development and sparks success. Professionals who are proficient in English can leverage a wealth of resources, including online courses, research publications, and networking platforms. This access to knowledge and information empowers individuals to stay updated with industry trends, acquire new skills, and remain competitive in their respective fields.

The complete ‘Future of English: Global Perspectives’ report can be accessed here.

Disclaimer: This article is a paid publication and does not have journalistic/editorial involvement of Hindustan Times.

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Published: 12 Apr 2024, 12:58 PM IST
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