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GlobalEnglish Releases Business English Index, Reveals Widening Gap in English Proficiency Across Industries

Brisbane, CalifLearning NewsGlobalEnglish

GlobalEnglish Corporation (, the leading provider of on-demand solutions to advance the Business English proficiency of global organizations, today issued a report with the results from its 2013 Business English Index (BEI) and Globalization of English (GOE) research.

- Report Reveals Poor-performing Industries, and Countries Continue to Struggle with the Global Language of Business -

Brisbane, Calif. USA - April 23, 2013 – GlobalEnglish Corporation (, the leading provider of on-demand solutions to advance the Business English proficiency of global organizations, today issued a report with the results from its 2013 Business English Index (BEI) and Globalization of English (GOE) research. According to the BEI, Business English proficiency scores have increased dramatically during the past year, though scores for several key industries remain low and, in some cases, have declined. Lower scores indicate a high risk of increased organizational inefficiencies, general susceptibility to global miscommunication, and poor collaboration.

“This year’s BEI results demonstrate a widening gap between high- and low-performing businesses, industries and regions,” says Tom Kahl, President, GlobalEnglish. “Companies that make Business English a priority are leaving the rest behind. These companies are making a deliberate investment in the improvement of company-wide proficiency. An increasing number of organizations realize that they need targeted on-demand solutions for executive development, high potentials and the general workforce to improve internal collaboration, sales, customer service and, ultimately, financial performance.”

As a growing number of businesses operate across multiple countries, non-native English-speakers spend significant time communicating and collaborating in English. A recent survey by CEB found that more than two-thirds of employees reported that their jobs require more collaboration today than they did three years ago.  Together, these factors make a compelling argument for the importance of Business English proficiency today.

Each year, GlobalEnglish polls workers to quantify Business English proficiency and examines the resulting data in the BEI study. The findings can help multinational companies understand Business English competency across geographies and sectors, and understand how they compare to peers and competitors. A BEI score of 1.0 indicates an ability to read and communicate using only simple questions and statements, and a score of 10.0 represents capacity to communicate and collaborate in the workplace much like a native English speaker. The average 2013 BEI score across 212,883 test takers globally is 4.75, a 14 percent score increase from 2012. Despite these improvements, nearly one third (30 percent) of global workers are ranked as beginners.

Government, Real Estate, Non-Profit Workers Lack Critical English Skills
Despite global score improvements, workers in real estate and construction; media, communications and entertainment; and government, education and non-profit industries registered a below-average score of 3.0. This indicates that the typical worker in these industries is unable to understand or communicate basic business information during common workday interactions, such as meetings and phone calls.

Aerospace and Defense, Professional Services, Technology Industries Lead
Respondents in highly technical industries including aerospace, professional services and technology topped the industry BEI rankings. Workers in the aerospace industry recorded a BEI score of 6.63, indicating capability to understand business presentations and communicate problems and solutions.

These industries continue to lead the BEI rankings largely because of the need for personal interaction and a high percentage of global knowledge workers providing service to an increasing number of international locations. Even while ranking at the top of the BEI scale, workers in these industries remain susceptible to misunderstanding more active or complex business discussions. There is room for improvement, even at the top of the scale.

Highest and Lowest BEI Scores within Business Industries

  • Aerospace/Defense 6.63
  • Professional Services 6.22
  • Technology 5.72
  • Financial Services 4.93
  • Retail 4.92
  • Auto/Transportation 3.99
  • Energy/Utilities 3.96
  • Media/Comm/Entertainment 3.20
  • Govt/Ed/Non-Profit 3.18
  • Real Estate/Construction 2.82

Highest and Lowest BEI Scores Among Countries

  • Philippines 7.95
  • Norway 7.06
  • Netherlands 7.03
  • United Kingdom 6.81
  • Australia 6.78
  • El Salvador & Chile 3.24
  • Mexico 3.14
  • Saudi Arabia 3.14
  • Colombia 3.05
  • Honduras 2.92

Employees View English Proficiency as a Crucial Skill
The 2013 Globalization of English (GOE), research surveyed 24,000 global knowledge workers from more than 90 countries to determine the sentiment of workers regarding English in the workplace. According to the report, nine in 10 (93 percent), workers surveyed communicated a clear desire to improve their Business English skills within the next two years.

The GOE research also revealed that workers see English as a critical skill for career advancement. Ninety-three percent of respondents said that their managers would like them to improve their English skills, and 94 percent said that English is either a required or an important step toward career advancement.

Globalization of English Report: with whom do you communicate in English?

  • Managers/Executives 58%
  • Co-workers 57%
  • Direct Reports 21%
  • Customers 39%
  • Suppliers 34%

Globalization of English Report: How soon do you need to improve your English skills?

  • Less than 6 months 31%
  • 6 months to 12 months 40%
  • 1 year to 2 years 21%
  • More than 2 years 8%

To review the complete findings of the 2013 Business English Index Report – including a full report, infographics and a presentation, visit:

Brian Remmel
Cohn & Wolfe for GlobalEnglish
[email protected]