English the preferred language for world business: poll

Wed May 16, 2012 9:58am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Workers whose jobs require them to interact with people in foreign countries say that English is the dominant language of business, according to a new poll.

More than one quarter of employees in 26 countries around the world told an Ipsos poll that their jobs involve dealing with people in other countries. And of those, two-thirds said that English is the language they use most often.

Workers in India, Singapore and Saudi Arabia were the most likely to say their jobs involved interacting with people in other countries, with 59 percent, 55 percent and 50 percent saying so, respectively.

But only nine percent in Japan and 13 percent in Russia said their work required communication outside the country.

"The most revealing aspect of this survey is how English has emerged as the default language for business around the world," said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Global Public Affairs which conducted the poll for Reuters.

The survey of 16,344 employed adults in 26 countries showed that 67 percent, or just over two-thirds, of workers who deal with people beyond their borders said English was the language used most often, with Spanish a very distant second at five percent.

Nearly as many, 61 percent, said the language used for such interactions was different from their native one.

Bricker said the findings suggest "that all those in the English-speaking world who suggested that our children should learn Mandarin or Japanese to have successful careers were beaten to the punch by the Chinese, in particular, learning English first."   Continued...

A white board is seen covered with writing at the Tradeworx office in Red Bank, New Jersey November 17, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Segar