Necessity of Practical English Skills in the Job – Effective Preparation of students for the World of Work

Acquiring English practical skills forms a part of effective preparation of students for the world of work. Right from finding a job to getting a job, performing in a job and growing in a job, one needs to possess good English skills, if not they may fall behind in the job market.

Need for English to find a job:
The need for English practical skills start from the very first step of finding a job. Right from creating your own resume to identifying the suitable jobs, understanding the requirements and the job profile, applying for job, appearing for written tests and then asking and answering queries of the employers, require you to be good at English. Though it may seem quite surprising, but many of the graduates find it difficult to understand the eligibility criteria given for the job and struggle while filling up the application form.

Need for English on job:
Writing is not described in the official job description for most of the jobs, but every employee is expected to do some writing in job as a part of his/her daily employment.

One need not have extraordinary English skills, but should have practical English skills. These are the skills for which the company cannot provide training, but expects the candidate to be equipped with them while applying for a job.

Writing summary of a meeting, preparing work status reports, sending emails, applying for leave, note to the boss, writing a request to the other organizations on behalf of company, addressing/responding to the managers/clients, preparing marketing proposals are few of the areas where an employee needs to possess good English composition skills.

Improper reporting or low quality write-ups regarding their work give no proper understanding of the issue to their team leaders/managers who assess these reports for appraisal or track their daily performance. This makes it hard for assessment of their work by seniors.

Ability to write clearly and use simpler words remains an essential skill for an employee, no matter how good s/he is technically. Even a basic level employee in an organization should be skilled enough to at least –

  • Prepare a day’s (8-10 hr) work status report in an understandable manner in a matter of 15 minutes
  • Phrase a meaningful sentence, write-up and state a set of facts correctly

Today, many employees are struggling with English composition skills. Poor grammar or inability to communicate in writing can lead to coordination issues/misunderstandings and create impression of incompetence. This makes a candidate unfit for the job.

Need for English to get promotion:
Only an employee who has good written skills is entrusted with representing a company in a letter/email. By lacking good practical English skills one makes himself ineligible for higher level positions, where he is required to directly address clients located in other cities or abroad.

Survey findings:
There were few surveys conducted to analyse today’s generation’s English ability. The below are the findings of various surveys:

According to a recent study made by Aspiring Minds,

  • More than 25% engineers do not even possess the English comprehension skills required to understand engineering school curriculum.
  • Only 57% engineers can write grammatically correct sentences in English.
  • Less than 48% engineers understand moderately sophisticated words of English.
  • More than half of all engineers (52%) would not be fluent in a majority of words that are used with regular frequency at the workplace.
  • Around 50% engineers possess grammar skills no better than a class VII student.

Sample questions:

Identify the grammatical mistake in the below sentence
Q. There is a dearth of woman doctor in our state. We may have to recruit some from other states.

Only 47% of engineering graduates were able to select the correct answer women doctors.

Fill up the blank with correct word
Q. Did you _______ cereal for breakfast.

Only 50% of the students were able to give the correct answer – have.

In an open letter by Mohit Chandra, partner of KPMG Global Service, Transaction & Restructuring, he had mentioned that over half of the candidates who appear for interview lack the English ability to effectively communicate in business – both, written and oral.

Hence, practical English skills are the basic skills which a person cannot ignore if he is aspiring for a respectable professional job and get settled in life.