How Lack Of Language Skills Costs The Manufacturer’s Business

Published on: January 10, 2020

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The lack of language skills has been detrimental to business. About 22 percent of manufacturing companies have not been able to make a large number of sales due to this language barrier, especially in sales to other foreign nations. Although manufacturing companies have been dealing with international trade, it has not given thoughts to developing the language skills of its employees.

This language bridge has caused most employers loss in business by limiting the range of their sales through their inability to communicate with customers effectively. In the United States, about four employers have lost their business, which has brought up the demand for foreign language learning for employees.

A survey reveals that 47 percent of workers said they require language to serve the domestic market. Also, 65 million residents speak only English and about 40 percent with little or no proficiency, while 96% of their consumers reside outside the country.

Recently, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) started a program called Making Language Our Business: Addressing Foreign Language Demand Among U.S. Employee. The director of ACTFL, Howie Berman, suggested that the United States needs employees but has not been able to get because of the reduced amount of people with the desired language skill.

In Berman’s statement, “The U.S is behind other countries in terms of language skills as we don’t place language education as high as a priority compared to other countries,” Berman said. “So, we are not producing employees with these skills.”

Also, most manufacturing companies need language for business transactions. Without diversity in language, it won’t be elementary for the manufacturing sector to strive because of a large chain of dealings. In America, manufacturers need this language skills for their employees. Mostly those who work within and outside the nation in order to serve in the domestic market.

The United States is not the only country being affected by this lack of skills. The United Kingdom has been experiencing the same challenge as the nation keeps losing about £48 billion every year according to the research of Professor James Foreman-Peck in the Department of Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS).

The lack of this language skill has deterred small to medium scale exporters to carry out sales effectively. In other words, with practical language skills, the business can be open to any form of attack from regulatory bodies, whether it is a manufacturing or marketing companies.

CEO of Nikwax, a UK-based manufacturer of cleaning and waterproof products, Nick Brown stated that “English is fine if you want to buy things, but it’s not the right language to use for people who want to sell things.” Brown has been able to export his products in 50 counties and manufactures print materials in 48 languages.

Even with this current rate of success in ensuring his exports and sales team are linguists, Brown is still working on getting other language skills in China and other countries. “We’re doing a little bit of work with China, and we’re very aware that we’re behind there. One of the reasons is the language problem – we don’t have a Mandarin speaker.” He said.

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/dec/10/language-skills-deficit-costs-uk-economy
https://www.bloomberg.com/press-releases/2019-05-21/american-council-on-the-teaching-of-foreign-languages-releases-study-on-value-of-language-skills-among-u-s-employers

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