How Important is English in Developing Effective Staff Communication in the Workplace?

How Important is English in Developing Effective Staff Communication in the Workplace?

How well can your staff communicate in English in the workplace? Do they need to communicate in English with colleagues, clients, donors or partners?

English language communication skills are becoming a high priority for employers seeking young Cambodians to work in the corporate, government and NGO sectors. The number of international companies expanding their operations to Cambodia is rapidly growing, in part due to the upcoming ASEAN Economic Integration in 2015, and in part due to Cambodia opening up to the globalised economy.   

Young Cambodians planning a career, or those currently employed, in national and multi-national businesses and institutions need to develop effective English communication skills to advance their career prospects. An independent survey conducted in 2010 revealed that 42% of recent Cambodian university graduates were unemployed because they lacked the skills necessary to apply for the kinds of jobs they wanted. These skills are especially important in technical sectors which have difficulty sourcing qualified staff like engineering, architecture, construction and manufacturing.  As a general example, overseas graduates from New Zealand universities who tend to earn the highest salaries are those qualified in sciences, engineering and business & commerce.

Employers will also expect effective English communication skills in areas of expertise such as marketing and advertising, finance, human resources, customer service, product analysis, management styles, and leadership. Current and prospective employees in sectors like customer service and the hospitality industry also need business-related English communication skills for phone calls, emails, presentations, meetings, negotiations, report writing, and CV preparation and interviews. Without developing effective English language communication skills among the workforce, it will be increasingly difficult for companies and individuals to build their staff capacity and long-term competitiveness and success.

In recognition of the needs of local and international employers who need their staff to communicate effectively in English in the workplace, the Australian Centre for Education (ACE) has recently launched its Business English Program (BEP). Information about the ACE Business English Program can be found at: www.cambodia.idp.com/ace or at ACE Phnom Penh and Siem Reap campuses.

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