English Learning: New Career Opportunities for Non-Native Speakers

Learning English

Learning any language is valuable for cognition, improved understanding of the wider world, and intercultural exchange. English, though, is particularly useful in the modern world.

Advantage #1: New Educational Horizons

Many of the most highly rated universities in the world are in the English-speaking West – Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, etc. Of course, talent is not exclusive to Western nations. These schools recruit a large number of gifted students from Asian, African, Middle Eastern and South American nations for their programs. These students, in turn, eventually often return to their home countries and improve the fabric of those societies.

Of course, all of these institutions offer instructions almost exclusively in English, which requires a high competency to succeed. However, once you have mastered the language, so many doors open for a brighter future.

Advantage #2: Better-Paying Jobs

English proficiency usually means more income, even in primarily non-English speaking countries. This may seem counterintuitive, but there is actually a very good reason: English is the international language of business and culture!

Just as a small example, consider a call center for BMW in Bangkok, Thailand. Customers call in when they experience problems or have questions about their vehicle. Naturally, the majority of BMW owners in Thailand are Thai-speaking Thai nationals. For them, a Thai speaker is sufficient to take the call and handle it appropriately, resolving the customer’s issue. Fortunately for BMW, there are many Thai speakers in Thailand ready to take an office job like that.

But… what about the non-Thai speakers who own BMW cars in Thailand? What about the Chinese? What about the Japanese? The Americans? This presents a different challenge for BMW in terms of labor. Chances are, these customers do not speak Thai but speak at least some level of English – so for them, an English speaker is required. There are many less fluent English-speaking Thais available than Thai-speaking Thais. Thus, the law of supply and demand dictates that English-speaking Thais who take a job at BMW’s call center earn a higher salary than those who can only speak Thai. That’s exactly how it works – not only in call centers for car companies but across industries and professions.

Advantage #3: Networking

For a career-minded individual, building a strong contact base is important. So, if you are a fashion designer looking to build a reputation, you probably want to forge relationships with artists, other designers, clothes manufacturers, etc. If those people live overseas or in an adjacent country, chances are your medium of communication will be English.