BRISBANE, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 04/03/12 -- GlobalEnglish Corporation (www.GlobalEnglish.com), the leading provider of cloud-based, on-demand software to advance Enterprise Fluency for global organizations, today announced the results of its annual Business English Index (BEI), the only index that measures Business English proficiency in the workplace. The 2012 BEI shows that a lack of Business English proficiency is threatening the productivity of companies, industries and country-specific economies this year.
With a growing number of companies operating across ten, 15 or even more than 20 countries with different native tongues, the majority of the world's business conversations now take place between non-native English speakers in English. The current shortage of talent with the aptitude to speak, present, write, sell and service customers in English has become a high-performance challenge for leaders of multinational companies at a time when more international business growth has been fueled through expansions in emerging markets.
Based on a scale of 1-10, providing a ranking of employee Business English competency from beginner to advanced skills, the average 2012 BEI score across 108,000 test takers around the world is 4.15. A BEI score of 1.0 indicates an ability to read and communicate using only simple questions and statements, and a score higher than 10.0 represents an ability to communicate and collaborate in the workplace much like a native English speaker. There was an overall decrease in the average BEI score from last year's inaugural index, which dropped from 4.46 to 4.15. This low score confirms that current Business English skills are not sufficient enough to meet the performance demands of today's global economy.
Nearly four out of ten (38.2 percent) global workers from 76 represented countries were ranked as Business English beginners, meaning that, on average, they can't understand or communicate basic information during virtual or in-person meetings, read or write professional emails in English or deal with complexity and rapid change in a global business environment. The majority of global workers (60.5%) from the represented countries scored between a 4.0 and 7.0, below an intermediate level, indicating an inability to take an active role in business discussions or perform relatively complex tasks such as presentation development and customer or partner negotiations.
The International Monetary Fund forecasts that 70 percent of world growth over the next few years will come from emerging markets, with China and India accounting for 40 percent of that growth. By 2020, Brazil, Russia, India and China are expected to account for nearly 50 percent of all global GDP growth. Yet, according to McKinsey & Company(1), only 13 percent of graduates from emerging countries are suitable for employment in global companies, and the number one reason cited is a lack of English skills.
While 92 percent of non-native English-speaking global employees say communicating in English is required or important for their jobs, only a tiny fraction (seven percent) strongly agree that their current English skills are sufficient for success on the job, according to a 2010 survey of 26,000 global employees in 152 countries.(2)
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