Expat business reminded about language skills


A new survey has revealed that two in three British firms sending employees overseas do not require the individual to be fluent in the native language of their destination.

The research was conducted by workspace provider Regus, and they interviewed over 2,000 UK businesses with regards to their activities overseas.

Just 35 percent said that they require language fluency when appointing an expat manager to oversees foreign country,, and a further 41 percent stated that they do not believe language fluency is related to overseas performance.

However, this goes against previous reports that have highlighted the importance of languages, despite English being a globally recognised business language. In fact, many experts argue that not having knowledge of the local language when conducting business abroad can be of severe detriment.

As the business world becomes increasingly globalised, and new powers emerge, the importance of language skills will be even greater, as director at the Oxford University Business School, Stephan Chambers, explains: “Despite the near ubiquity of English, it’s clear that there will be an increasing premium on managers who speak Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic or Russian as the centres of business power move inexorably towards the new economic powerhouses of China and elsewhere.”