english teacher
Mastering the English language will help you secure a better pay package and job. Pic: wizdata/Shutterstock

Employers across all sectors and business sizes will offer higher salaries and promotions to those fluent in the English language, new research by the Cambridge English Language Assessment (Cambridge English) and Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) shows.

Better salary packages are found to be most common in non-native English-speaking countries like Brazil and China, which are coincidentally the same nations suffering from some of the biggest English skills gap.

“We live in an increasingly connected world and communication is an important part in this process. [People who] can communicate are more likely to grow professionally and personally,” Mário Magalhães, a production engineer at GGMR, Brazil, said in the report.

The findings are based on data from 5,373 employers in 38 countries that completed the annual QS Global Employer Survey, and insights from industry experts at Cambridge English.

Globally, job applicants are not meeting the level of mastery in the English language that employers want. This results in a “40 percent skills gap” between the desired level of English mastery and the language skills actually available, regardless of company size, according to Blandine Bastié, Cambridge English’s Country Head for UK and Ireland at Cambridge English.

The biggest skills disconnect are in internal-facing roles such as Human Resources and Personnel, Accounting and Finance, Production and Logistics, as well as in non-native English-speaking countries such as China, Japan, Russia and South Korea.

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Better salary packages are found to be most common in non-native English-speaking countries like Brazil and China. Source: Shutterstock

By contrast, the gap is lowest in middle and top management as well as in countries where English is an official language (e.g. Singapore and India).

Applicants able to close this English language skills gap can look forward to heftier starting packages and tend to climb faster up the corporate ladder. A total of 46 percent of employers say they will award bigger salary increases to those in this group as well.

For employers like Japan’s ITOCHU Corporation, English is an important business tool, a sentiment shared by the majority of the employers across the globe.

An overwhelming number of employers (95 percent) in non-native English-speaking countries find such skills are vital. Nurbek Achilov, the founder of Kazakhstan’s G-Global Development Community, calls it the language of ‘business, science, etiquette and innovations”.

Employees should know how to read, write, speak and understand the language well; reading is identified as the most vital skill in 11 industries since English is the lingua franca of many international journals and contracts. Second to reading is fluency in conversing in English, a skill identified as crucial in about nine industries, especially those requiring heavy social interaction such as travel, leisure and hospitality.

“The English language requirements of our staff can only increase in the next 10 years, because our business will depend more and more on global business,” Natsuki Segawa, Manager, Aerospace Systems, ITOCHU Corporation, Japan said.

Spanish migrant to the UK Barbara Rodriguez suggests taking the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) assessment like she did as the course helped her “develop all four English language skills”.

With these qualifications, she has managed to land interesting work in the UK, including regular placements with Cambridge English.

The CAE assessment is an international English language test developed by Cambridge English used to show language proficiency for study, work and immigration purposes. 

Bastié advises future economic migrants to the UK to take internationally-recognised qualifications to have the “best chance” in getting the job they want.

“They should also practice speaking the language as much as possible so that they can impress at the interview stage, and focus on reading and writing for more advanced technical roles.”

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