Hong Kong English Worries Local Employers

A report by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce states that local employers are not happy with the English language skills of their employees. The annual Annual Business Prospect Survey was released on 15th November 2007.

Over 65% of the Chamber's members surveyed said they were dissatisfied with the English language ability of the local workforce.

Although popular and successful schemes to raise the level of English in Hong Kong have been introduced by the government, the level of English in Hong Kong continues to fail to meet international standards.

Since most of Hong Kong's trade is with foreign partners, the need for a high level of English proficiency is even more acute. Even within Hong Kong there has been a move to the service sector, and hence a high level of English proficiency (both written and oral) is essential for businesses to prosper in this competitive globalised economy.

The need for improvement is also seen with the use of the "IELTS":http://www.hkenglish.com/ielts.html test (International English Language Testing System) to screen the English level of job applicants by major companies and even the civil service itself. Many organisations, including the government, routinely ask for an overall IELTS grade 6.5 for job placement.