English makes big strides in China: Survey

English makes big strides in China: Survey

A new survey in China has found that young Chinese professionals with higher levels of proficiency in English language are having faster career growth.

The survey, jointly conducted by the Switzerland-based English training organisation Education First (EF) and a leading Chinese human resources service provider, said Chinese professionals are increasingly viewing English language as an investment in their job and promotion prospects.

The study found that half of the 300 respondents, from all walks of life, thought that a solid grasp of English meant a higher chance of promotion. That rises to 55 per cent for those with an English degree, state-run China Daily reported today.

The survey said that a lack of English language proficiency is now becoming a significant barrier for promotion, especially for those who are born after 1970.

Observers say that China, which is predominantly a Chinese language speaking country, has made significant strides in English language during the last three decades of reform and opening policies.

And this has for the first time rapidly increased the country's interface with the world.
Today most of the schools and colleges in China promote English language courses.

EF said there has been a growing demand for overseas study courses from Chinese professionals assuming management positions.

This indicates that the ability to communicate fluently in English will become even more important not only for multinational companies with offices in China but also for Chinese companies expanding abroad.

EF emphasised that improving one's English should be considered an important investment in any young professional's career.

The EF report noted that average English proficiency declined among Hong Kong adults between 2007 and 2013.

However, they are still above Chinese mainland adults who have been improving largely as a result of increased spending on language courses by the expanding middle class.

For employers, setting up language requirements is one of the very first steps to screen candidates.

A quick look at the job advertisements posted on the site of a leading Chinese human resources service provider show "fluent English and good communication skills" as basic requirements set up by leading multinational companies for fresh graduates.

The 2014 China Salary Report compiled by a human resource service provider said professionals with both Chinese and English proficiency are in big demand in the financial services industry.

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