English is the language of the global workplace.
From local restaurants to multinational businesses, there’s a high chance that the staff who work there will require English skills.
Having these skills and being able to prove them plays an important role in both attracting job opportunities and helping those already in employment showcase their talent to negotiate better contracts and pay.
Here we explore the role English certificates plays in the hiring process and share the perspectives of both employers and employees on the topic.
Getting noticed by employers
The first step is making employers take notice.
Whether it’s a graduate looking for their first job, or a professional looking to join a new company, getting noticed by employers relies on having a blend of strong education qualifications and experience.
Most companies, especially ones which operate globally, use CVs (or ‘resumés’ as they’re known in American English) to filter out the best candidates.
Nyoman Widiana, HR Director of Capella Ubud Bali, explains that when deciding on which graduates to progress to interview stage, English ability is one of the first skills they look for.
Qualifications and education credentials play a crucial role in the hiring process, but communication is one of the most desired skills by employers and, as Nyoman Widiana explains, it’s important to demonstrate your ability there too.
Those who prove they can communicate effectively in English on their CV have a better chance of progressing to the interview stage and beyond.
Manuella Martinez, who works at IQVIA as a Global Clinical Trial Assistant, explains how English has always been an important tool for her – both in her studies and now in her job.
Her British Council EnglishScore certificate helped her get the job she’s currently in.
Career growth and self-improvement
English skill development and certification doesn’t just benefit those looking to enter into the world of work, it’s also an effective way for employees to negotiate promotions.
Let’s use a hypothetical example.
A professional who’s been working at an English-speaking company for three years is likely to have improved their English skills over that time.
This individual should retake their English test to see if they’ve improved on their previous level. If their employer values communication skills highly, then the employee can demonstrate how they’re constantly learning and developing their skill set.
In fact, research from the US states that those who speak English as a second language can receive up to 30% higher salaries than those who don’t. That number climbs to 67% for those who have mastered the language.
But why does English language proficiency correlate positively with higher salaries?
It’s likely that those in senior positions in a global workplace will need to show they can communicate effectively. Management are often required to teach, delegate, coordinate teams, direct and present, meaning they require a good command of English.
For an employee looking for a promotion to a management position, proving one’s ability to communicate in English both demonstrates how they’re adding more value to the company now, and will continue to do so in the future.
The most important English skills in the workplace
We know that communication is very important to employers, but communication itself can be broken down into four elements: speaking, writing, listening and reading. These are known as ‘core skills’.
All of the four core skills are needed in the workplace, but the ones employers typically focus on are reading and speaking.
In fact, Cambridge Assessment English found that 38% of employers say reading is the most important language skill, with speaking coming a close second (35%).
Whilst being able to demonstrate proficiency in all English skills is the ideal, some job roles will prioritise certain ones over others. For example, for roles in tourism, sales or hospitality employers will be looking for a high standard of English speaking.
Certifying overall English proficiency is important, but candidates that can prove they excel in the English communication demands of the job, whether it’s speaking, reading or writing or listening will stand the best chance of success.
How to certify English skills for employment
It’s important for anyone looking to succeed in the modern workplace to have proof of their English language ability.
EnglishScore’s mobile English Test can be taken on a smartphone from anywhere in the world. There’s no upfront cost, no exam centres and no travel – just an accessible and accurate way to test and certify English skills for employment.