Knowing English has become essential today for better employability and even a better social life.

In the 20th century, as the world transformed into a global village, English emerged as a common thread and has eventually acquired the status of being a global language. Today, a total of 2.5 billion people speak English around the world and more than 56 per cent of all content on the Internet is in English.

In a world that largely speaks English, it becomes imperative to learn the language for interacting and engaging with others. Even Facebook, the largest online social network, witnesses well over 52 per cent of its total user base accessing the site in English.

One might still debate the criticality of learning the language for personal progress. However, the significant role played by English communication skills in the professional domain is undeniable.

Leaders across the globe know that the English language makes you part of a larger, global conversation. And, therefore, even countries which do not have English as their native language encourage its population to learn the language.

This realisation has become quite evident among individuals and organisations as well. While individuals are in a mad rush to learn the language, organisations have begun to use English language communication skills as a key parameter to evaluate employability.

In certain cases, English communication skills are considered so essential that often a minimum skill in the language is non-negotiable with recruiters. If two candidates have the same technical skills and work proficiency, the candidate with better communication skills and a well-rounded personality definitely has an edge over the other – this is especially true at a time when an organisation needs to downsize.

Some insights

A recent study on ‘English Language Proficiency and Workplace Readiness’ reiterated some interesting insights about levels of English language skills and employment. According to the report, communication skills (written and oral) are ranked at the top of the most important employability skills.

Individuals who can speak good English are 74 per cent more likely to be employed. Another study conducted by the World Bank, estimated that English communication skills increase the hourly wages of men by a whopping 34 per cent.

This growing and urgent demand for an English-conversant workforce has also ushered in new and innovative ways of learning the language. The traditional instructor–classroom setup is out of step with the current requirements. High-quality trainers are hard to find and difficult to retain.

Learn on the move

With such a dearth of quality trainers, technology innovations in the field of English Language Training (ELT) are the only way forward. For organisations, it offers large-scale replication of the training models – providing high levels of standardisation and enhancing the learning experience. For individuals, training delivery through devices such as mobiles and tablets enhances the scope for personalised learning. The ‘Anytime, Anywhere’ learning possibility offered by these devices further expands the learning horizon.

English has truly evolved as a tool that transforms lives. The essence and significance of the English language is captured in one word – opportunity – to have a better job, to lead a better social life, to live a better tomorrow.

The writer is the founder and CEO of EnglishEdge.