6 surprising ways English helps your career

You might not realise it, but speaking English will definitely help your career. Whether you are applying for a job or just conducting an interview, knowing how to speak English well is important. This article shares some surprising ways in which English helps your career.

Learning the English language can help you break into a global workforce. Whether you want to become an international business executive, or just make better use of your local resources, learn English is essential.

As an English speaker, you might think that your ability to speak the language is your only career asset. But a new study suggests that fluency in English could give you an edge in the job market. It’s true that having a good command of the language helps you land jobs, especially if you want to work for companies that are more globally oriented.

English is considered a global language, spoken in over 200 countries and with an estimated 250 million native speakers. It is no wonder that English is still widely used as a second language across the world. However, you may not be aware of all the benefits that come with learning it. Here are six surprising ways English helps your career.

1. Not speaking a second language may actually hold employees back

Not only is having a second language advantageous to individuals and the businesses they work for; speaking only one language may become an impediment to careers in future.

“There is a glass ceiling developing for monoglots within global businesses beyond a certain point; unless they’ve had overseas experience and have cultural awareness and probably a language, they’re not going to get into the more rarefied atmosphere,” says Richard Hardie, Chair at UBS.

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2. English skills improve employee agility

Aside from the obvious communication benefits of improving English; Andrew Hill, Associate and Management Editor at the Financial Times, suggests there is scientific research, “Indicating that multilinguals are more agile; that they have more capability of dealing with multiple tasks.”

3. Multilinguals are better decision-makers

If you think that having a native familiarity with a language makes you more comfortable with using it to make decisions, you could be wrong.

“Multilinguals are better at making rational decisions in the second language,” says Antonella Sorace, Professor of Development Linguistics at Edinburgh University. “When the problem is framed in the second language, there is more emotional distance between the speaker and the problem and that allows a decision that is more rational in the sense that it is less coloured by emotional factors.”

4. Multilinguals have ‘soft power’

Soft power certainly doesn’t mean a softening of abilities – quite the opposite, in fact. A concept developed by Joseph Nye of Harvard University, it is defined as: “A persuasive approach to international relations, typically involving the use of economic or cultural influence – rather than coercion or payment.”

Traditionally associated with international diplomacy, soft power can be useful in roles requiring mediation, networking and the building of client relationships.

5. English skills could mean better negotiation skills

These ‘soft power’ abilities (as mentioned in item 5, above) that multilinguals have means they’re better at negotiating “partly because they can see the other person’s perspective; they can anticipate the other person’s point of view and respond,” says Antonella Sorace, Professor of Development Linguistics at Edinburgh University. This would be particularly useful in roles that require negotiations around contracts.

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6. English could help you earn more

According to this, employees feel that improved English would allow them to earn around US$5,000 more per year. And while that would mean greater expenditure for businesses, for the reasons given above – and more – this could also mean a more efficient, not to mention galvanized, workforce providing more long-term financial benefits.

Is there any way to get certified in English without going through a formal course or taking an exam?

While many people – especially those who haven’t had formal English education or chances to practice their skills in a classroom setting – will tell you there is not, the reality of learning English during the lifespan should be different. When studying abroad or on your own time and with passion, it really isn’t difficult at all!

Looking for more ways we can learn? Visit our english lessons homepage here; good luck dreaming in sign language!

Original article by Tia McGann, Manager of the Online Business Unit at LearnEnglish.at in English translation from the original blog post. Thanks, Sophie!