Survey: The Importance of the English Language in the Workplace


Many of my Malaysian friends asked me this one good question, “Why you did not write in Bahasa Malaysia (my mother tongue) ?” Not that I do not want to but I feel it is a lot easier for me to interact in English not only with my Malaysian friends or Malaysian readers but also from elsewhere too. Moreover all Malaysians do speak English, am I right?

Here is what being revealed by JobStreet.com who conducted this survey and here are the details.

The importance of the English language in the workplace continues to be a top concern among employers in the country.According to the results of this study, a staggering 91% of employers said that English is the language of business communication. By contrast, only 6% of them used the Chinese language while 2% used Bahasa Malaysia instead.

We also asked employers if the quality of the English language amongst new hires has improved over the last one year. More than half (54%) stated that there was no change while 16% say that it has dropped. Still, a notable 30% maintained that it has improved, though this may be due to an influx of foreign university graduates returning to the country.

To every business entity, productivity is of utmost importance. A landslide majority of 95% of employers believed that better English would improve the productivity of employees, as opposed to the 5% who don’t. It was not surprising then to find that 66% of employers have turned down applicants due to a bad command of English while a further 26% would do so if necessary.

But how do employers screen through new hires on their command of the English language? Screening via phone interviews and resume slips come in at 36% and 53% respectively. The most popular method by far however is to screen a new hire’s English through a face-to-face interview (84%).

Still, despite these various methods to filter applicants, about 61% of employers surveyed said they were looking for the right tools to gauge a job seeker’s command of the English language. Also, 78% of employers were keen on using an English test to help in the hiring process. In line with these numbers, 63% of employers preferred to hire new people with already a good command of English, while 30% would give on-the-job training to new hires.

The emphasis for the employers at large lies mainly in the competency of new hires when it comes to conversational English. The JobStreet.com study revealed in terms of importance, 92% of employers felt that conversational English was the most important with 65% choosing grammar, 55% indicated comprehension and 47% saying vocabulary.

This study on the importance of the English language in the workplace was conducted by JobStreet.com in August 2009. With the participation by 1001 employers, the study was a follow-up research on an earlier survey in July 2009 on reasons why employers felt fresh graduates remained unemployed.

*Note1: Curious to see where you stand amongst your peers in English? Take the JobStreet.com ELA today.

*Note2: Update Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and Blogger with 1 SMS Only! http://www.roslihanip.com/loves/malaysianSMS.html


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