A recent article in The Economist titled ‘The English Empire’ noted that an ever increasing number of international companies are adopting English as their first language. While this comes as no surprise for most English learners, what’s worth noting is that global firms from non-English speaking countries are adopting English to replace their native language as the official language.
Taking China’s Lenovo for example, its CEO Yang Yuanqing set a very personal example when he made it his priority to become fluent in English at the age of 40. Despite a grueling work schedule, he made sure to set aside time studying English everyday from learning with a personal tutor to watching American TV. He now conducts board meetings in fluent English. Another Asian boss who exemplifies commitment to learning English is Hiroshi Mikitani, the boss of Japan’s Rakuten Group which operates the ubiquitous Uniqlo chain. He made his staff learn English and once warned to demote or even fire staff who didn’t reach desired fluency. Companies from Asia to Europe recognize that it’s far more efficient to conduct business in English.
This trend means that English is becoming ever more important in one’s career development. On top of communications benefits, some business leaders including the aforementioned Hiroshi Mikitani also think that the English language helps promote attributes such as free thinking and creativity amongst employees.
Does your personal experience reflect the bigger trend? We hope you can share your experience by answering the following questions:
- How much of a role does English play in your professional development?
- What’s your view on the role English plays at work?
- Do you think it’s sometimes mistaken for professional competency?
- Did you have to learn English on the job?
- Does your employer provide English training?
- What key factors do you consider when looking for English training?
As the creator of English learning materials for busy adults, we want to hear your thoughts!