Business English Online - The Importance of English Proficiency in the Business World

Posted by Elizaveta Shkurina on Apr 11, 2018 4:44:33 PM

Specialization in Business English is advancing as one of the most employable skills in the fields of global and business communication. ESL students all over the world, who are studying or working in the areas of Finance, Law, politics, marketing, and trade, are gravitating to courses that cover conversation, vocabulary, and other topics of the business world.

But how does this specialized skill function in the real world, outside of the classroom?

Here is all you need to know about the role of English in the contemporary global economy, its career prospects, along with how you can take advantage of the flourishing field.

Business English Globally - The World Speaks ESL

While not the most spoken language in the world, English is the common ground that unites people who speak different languages. Through English, information flows globally; it is often considered the world’s business language.

English on the internet

English is indispensable on the Internet - one of the most valuable platforms of the business world. According to the MIT Media Lab analysis, more than eighty percent of the Internet’s content is in English. With millions of terabytes of information reaching billions of people every day, the Internet has the power to shift entire business markets in one direction or another. As the majority of contemporary marketing strategies operate online, the business language is a vital tool in this influence.

Spoken English

On the peak of globalization and technology, English dominates the world like no other language in history. Outside of the Internet, there are over 1.75 billion people in the world who speak English on a fundamental level. This number is expected to grow to 2 billion within ten years, The British Council reports. For the first time, English is spoken in every country in the world. An audience of this scale demands to be considered by international businesses.

“The English language requirements of our staff can only increase in the next ten years because our business will depend more and more on global business.” - Natsuki Segawa, Manager of Aerospace Systems of ITOCHU Corporation, Japan

English in the corporate world

Corporate giants have noticed the growing trends and are taking action. According to Harvard Business Review, international businesses like Microsoft, Daimler-Chrysler, Nokia, and many others now use English as the official corporate language. Even companies based in non-English speaking countries, like Sweden and Japan, prefer to operate corporate deals in English, as the majority of business is conducted with the outside world, either via the Internet or other communications. The call for English in corporations big and small is surging forward the economy, along with the job market for ESL learners.

Demand for English-Speaking Employees is Rapidly Growing Worldwide

While some global businesses are embracing English as the official language, even more international sellers are competing for English-speaking markets. The World Trade Organization estimates commercial service exports among its members topped $4.65 trillion in 2016, contributing twenty-five percent of the total international trade.

The members, including the United States, along with other English-speaking countries, the UK, Australia, and Canada, comprise a crucial prospect for global commercial services. Corporations all over the world contend for these markets, utilizing all methods to capture their attention. As the upward trend continues, the demand for employees with Business English skills is at an all-time high.

Businesses are demanding English language skills

Businesses are accommodating the global demand course, as reflected on Linkedin. Companies like Google, Volkswagen of America, and Nintendo, among others, are posting over 100,000 worldwide job openings on a weekly basis, all of which require the knowledge of the business language. The trend of high employability of this skill is set to increase further over the years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that careers in business, particularly on an international level, are on an all-time rise. Specialized skills, such as translation, ethics, advising and management, will increase in demand over the next decade.


Some of the major skills sought out by employers during the hiring process include communication, finance, delegation, along with soft skills, like flexibility and time management.

Business sectors demanding proficient English skills

The highest English language requirements for many jobs are in sectors of Banking, Finance, and Law, where business interactions tend to use complex and technical language. Some jobs are only open to applicants who are fluent in the business language. In addition, many companies request a specialized Business English Language Certificate for employment opportunities.

Benefits of English language proficiency

According to a Cambridge English report, many organizations offer extra benefits to employees with specialized skills in English. Around 50% of employers offer a better starting package to applicants with good English language skills. The benefits may include faster progression through job grades, increases in salary, and advancement to senior roles. The business language skill has become an economic necessity and a vessel for improving career prospects.

Your Key to Success: Business English Vocabulary

In many job descriptions, companies describe the requirement of “business level fluency” in English. How does this differ from fluency in General English?

The difference is in the vocabulary. The language used in global business operations is not like the English that many ESL students, or even native speakers, learn in school. Letter writing, presentations, conferences, negotiations, and reports all require specific business jargon. The business language comprises a series of nuances that may influence outcomes in scenarios ranging from office culture to significant international transactions. Particular terminology and field-specific skills ensure accurate communication and results.

What is business level fluency of English?

According to the official ILR scale, a person skilled in “business level fluency” embodies the following characteristics:

  • Effective communication at managerial and professional level:

The knowledge of business  vocabulary is a vital skill of any employee engaging in business communications. Specific business language promotes clear understanding between all parties involved in the process. Engaging with peers, subordinates, supervisors, and clients must be carried out in an intentional, practical, and professional manner.

A study by Global English reveals that ninety-seven percent of surveyed employees state that poor communication as a result of inadequate business language skills may result in adverse impacts. These may include loss of sales, profitability, and efficiency of operations. On the other hand, communication increases productivity in the workplace, which ultimately results in higher profit yields, as well as successes on the job.

  • Confident participation and self-expression in the workplace:

Specialized language proficiency not only creates confidence but shows the employer the scope of the employee’s professionalism and interpersonal skills.

Confidence in business communication and business English conversation leads to active participation and accurate expression of the individual in the fast-paced business world. According to The Value of Arts for Business by Giovanni Schiuma, the development of business language skills may cultivate “confidence of how not to be intimidated by senior figures, ability to get the best out of situations, development of a self-management orientation and the ability to improvise.”

  • Reacting appropriately to different cultural and social situations:

Besides increasing the ability to communicate clearly with colleagues and clients, the business language emphasizes tactical cross-cultural interactions. The business sphere signifies a particular etiquette that may not be evident in the daily English vernacular and communications. While each country has its standards of business culture, there is a set of virtually universal business traditions. According to International Business Standards Organization (IBSO), some of these include introductions, greeting courtesies, being on time, and using appropriate language.

The cultural etiquette involves everything from the firmness of a handshake in different countries around the world, to food etiquette, body language, and style of communications. This Business Insider infographic shows various ways in which business customs vary around the globe. Where business vocabulary can’t help you, knowing when not to smile at a Russian client, or when to put aside over two-plus hours for a business lunch in Brazil, may prove to be invaluable.

Start Improving Your Business English Skills Today

Business language skills are imperative to the entire process of career navigation - the job search, the interview, and, hopefully, the first day at work and beyond. Any ESL student planning on working abroad or participating in international business must possess this knowledge to succeed. So, why not undertake this essential, and highly-demanded skill, as soon as possible?

How about right now?

Your Agora is an online platform for ESL teachers that allows them to collaborate on work with students for Business English improvement. In its vast catalog of courses, the platform provides lesson materials and business English curriculum for teachers to use.

Find a tutor today that uses Your Agora to work with students like you, or ask your current teacher to join the platform for free to accelerate your learning. Pave your success in global business with multilingual communication skills.

The collaborative course list available to your teacher incorporates the fields of Accounting, Banking, Investment, Foreign Exchange, Insurance, among many more. With lesson materials ranging from monetary adjectives to advertisement vocabulary, the student will attain the confidence he or she needs in the fast-paced global business market. By using Your Agora, the ESL teacher has the tools to expand on existing English skills, beyond a  business English book including sophisticated industry-specific vocabulary, and practical tasks such as interviews and business writing.  You also gain access to lists of unique and effective websites, videos, and business English podcasts.

Ensure that your English tutor is using Your Agora to help accelerate your progress in learning specialized English skills. Feel your confidence grow, and your career prospects flourish, as you advance the indispensable skills of the global business economy.


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