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How important is English in the global workplace?

Oct 18, 2023

In 2022, global statistics show that 1.5 billion people speak English either as a native or second language. This figure may even be greater if we take into consideration those who learnt English unofficially through self-teaching or exposure to English media, books, music, pop culture and films. Wherever you go in the world, you are most likely going to encounter someone who speaks a little bit of English. Perhaps it is partially due to this reality that English is also fast becoming one of the top languages adopted as a global corporate language. With this in mind, how important is English in the global workplace? 

Proficiency in English can present better job opportunities

Proficiency in English presents more job opportunities in the fast-paced world of business. Many of the world’s largest companies such as Airbus, Samsung, Nokia and Renault to name a few have adopted English as a universal corporate language to facilitate better communication across geographically diverse populations where their offices are located. Multinational companies such as these have workforces in many different parts of the world and therefore encounter language barriers. English, however, has been shown to bridge the gap. 

As a native or non-native English speaker, it would be deemed an important asset in addition to your other qualifications. A multinational company may also list English as a requirement to even apply for a position. This prompts the demand for English language learning and teachers of English. It creates multiple streams of opportunities for those who want to learn English and those who can teach it. Many internships become more attainable for students, graduates and entry-level workers when they can speak, understand and have reached a certain level of English fluency, especially with certification. 

Global English is great for e-commerce 

The internet is a vast and unlimited resource for businesses who wish to develop e-commerce and reach a larger target audience. Websites, apps and other types of software can reach more customers if it’s in English. Over 500 million people use English on the internet. Many companies can benefit from having proficient English speakers on their payroll to communicate effectively, translate web pages, product descriptions and social media pages to promote and generate interest in their products or services.

It’s also important for reaching a global consumer audience since the average person may only be exposed to one or two languages, with English being one of the most widely spoken, even in non-English territories. Having a good command of English in customer service roles or remote positions for a global enterprise is vital for productivity and effective communication. It isn’t just for large companies either. Adopting English as a workplace standard can be a great asset for small start-ups, sole traders, social media influencers, entrepreneurs and non-profit organisations to get more reach. 

English is a form of universal communication

Many companies have external stakeholders and business ventures or mergers often involve companies from different territories coming together to discuss their strategies. English is the go-to corporate language that facilitates such interactions and is a vital form of communication across many countries worldwide. Fluency in English at the top tier of management also shows how professional and progressive a company can be. This makes it more alluring to do business with them. For example, many international companies use English on a day to day basis to conduct meetings and negotiations with clients and partners from different countries. For example, a French company representative meeting with officials from China are may use English as their mode of communication as it is more likely that both may speak English as a second language instead of having proficiency in each other’s languages. 

Learning English promotes self-advancement

Companies thrive when they can expand their reach and depend on a reliable and competent workforce. Business English is a rapidly growing skill which allows employees, top management and CEOs to communicate more effectively to land major trade and joint ventures across the globe. Learning English for business upgrades your resume and provides you with a useful tool not only for work but also for travel, education and personal development. 

Learning English opens up a whole new world of entertainment, hobbies and skills that you may not have been exposed to without it. You can also be eligible to take internationally recognised exams and receive official documentation based on your English fluency. IELTS for example is a requirement for residency applications for work, migration or study in the US, Canada and UK. CELTA is also the preferred assessment for those seeking a career in teaching English. 

It’s easy and affordable to access English Language Learning

If you want to learn English for work, school or leisure, it’s one of the easiest things to access both online and in person. Educational institutes like International House Cape Town provide a myriad of different English learning options. There are many different courses of English to suit certain purposes. These include areas such as aviation, teacher training, business, exam preparation and more. Whatever your goal is for learning English, there is a course designed especially for you. You can learn Business English online at IH, or take face to face classes at one of their 160 schools in over 50 locations worldwide. The cost of English Language tuition is also more affordable in modern times which makes it more achievable. 


English is an important language in the world of business. It bridges the language barriers faced by multinational corporations and provides more job and promotion opportunities for employees worldwide. Having English as a first or second language is seen as an asset in the world of work and promotes further advancement and training in English to upgrade skills and proficiency. Learning English is now easier to access than ever with the success of online English classes in addition to face to face classes. If you want to expand your skills in English for work or education, it’s certainly a great investment.