Variety

Philippines overtakes India

| Updated on: Apr 07, 2012

Guess which developing economy has better communicative proficiency in business English than India's? The Philippines.

The annual Business English Index (BEI), based on worldwide survey among 1.08 lakh workers, conducted by a US analyst firm Bersin & Associates, says the Philippines attained the score above 7.0, a high proficiency level. India scored 5.57, placing it within the top 10 countries. The Philippines, a country with one-tenth of the population of India, recently overtook India as a hub for call centres.

The BEI, which measures communicative English skill at the workplaces, shows that there is a shortage of talent. The current shortage of talent with the aptitude to speak, present, write, sell and service customers in English has become a challenge for leaders of multinational companies.

Based on a scale of 1-10, for ranking of employee competence, the average score of 2012 dropped to 4.15 from 4.46 in the 2011 inaugural index.

The survey report published on March 29, found Norway (6.54), Estonia (6.45), Serbia (6.38) and Slovenia (6.19) joining the Philippines in the top five this time around. The Philippines and Norway – are the only two countries to figure in the top five in two consecutive surveys.

At a disadvantage

Both struggling economic powers (Japan, Italy and Mexico) and fast-growth emerging markets (Brazil, Columbia and Chile) scored below a 4.0, placing them at a disadvantage when competing in a global marketplace. Three out of four BRIC countries did not figure in the top-ranking 25 countries. Brazil, Russia and China clocked 2.95, 3.60 and 4.44, respectively.

Shifts in global talent have put even English-speaking countries at risk. The BEI score for global workers in the US declined from 6.9 to 5.09 over a year. One in five global workers employed in the US across the science, technology, engineering and math fields are foreign-born, according to a US Department of Commerce data, published early this year.

According to McKinsey & Company, only 13 per cent of graduates from emerging countries are suitable for employment in global companies, and the number one reason cited is a lack of English skills.

>(jayanta_mallick@thehindu.co.in)

Published on November 15, 2017

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