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We surveyed 5,300 employers in 38 countries. We found that English is important all over the world. Even in countries where English is not an official language, over two thirds of employers say English is important for their business.
Did you know?
‘English is the real global language and is important in education, relations and business. I am the Chairman of one of the largest Italian Bank Foundations and we are dealing with more than 100 countries. Our work language is English.’
Professor Francesco Profumo, Politecnico di Torino, Italy
It is well known that Cambridge English Qualifications are used by students to travel, study, work and live abroad in English-speaking countries.
However, good English language skills now open doors, wherever you are in the world. Cambridge English Qualifications and tests are recognised by over 25,000 universities, employers and governments in countries all around the world.
Even in countries where English is not an official language, half of employers say that there are career benefits for people with good English language skills. These benefits include:
Overall, employers say they want all four language skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening). So it’s important to practise all of them.
Employers say that the most important language skill is reading (in 12 industries) and then speaking (in eight industries).
Reading in English is important for developing professional knowledge. It’s the language most often used in international publications, contracts and instructions.
Speaking is the most important skill in service industries such as Travel and Hospitality, where customer service is a big part of the job.
Employers have a wide range of English language needs:
The highest English language requirements are in business sectors, such as Banking, Finance and Law, where business materials often use advanced and technical English.
Language requirements are lower in Travel, Hospitality, Transportation, Distribution and Utilities, possibly because customer-facing roles use more everyday English.
In recent years, there has been unprecedented investment in English language learning. However, employers still say there is a gap between the English language skills they need and the skills that are actually available:
The size of the English language skills gap shows how prevalent English requirements have become – in all industries, all organisation sizes, and at all management levels. English language skills have never been more essential to succeed and progress at work.
When recruiting new staff, most employers have at least one way of assessing English language skills: