Image 2021 11 17 T09 42 29

When thinking about switching jobs to a foreign-capital company, many people think, “Will I need to have perfect English skills?” Saying this, en world conducted a survey on the usage of English when working for a foreign-capital company, targeting 400 men and women in their 20s to 50s who changed jobs to a foreign-capital company within the last 5 years. Check out the voices from actual people who have made their transitions to foreign-capital companies, and you can reference it for your own job hunt.

<Table of Contents>

The average English level required for foreign-capital companies is "Business Level"

When asked about the English level required by foreign-capital companies/business departments, "Business" (25.8%) accounted for the largest number. Following that, "Advanced" (15.8%), "Intermediate" (15.0%), and "Native" (13.8%) continues with around the same percentage. 

"Business" level and below accounts for nearly 60% of the total. If your English proficiency is above or equal to this threshold, you can say that many doors will open for you to find a position at a foreign-capital company. 

Approximately 60% is above business level before changing jobs, and rises to 70% after joining the company

When asked about their English level before and after joining the company, while many people answered that their English ability before changing jobs was "Basic (beginner)" (20.4%), there were still 60% who were business level or above.

"Regarding English proficiency levels after joining the company, ""Basic"" decreased, ""Advanced"" increased by 7.5%, ""Business"" increased by 3.1%, and those at or above business level totaled to approximately 70%. 
Overall, more than 20% improved their English proficiency after changing jobs, and it shows that even in ""Business"" and ""Advanced"", it is necessary to continue improving English proficiency even after joining the company. "

The most difficult situation to handle in English is "support over the phone"

After changing jobs to a foreign-capital company, the top two scenarios where respondents struggled with English were "phone support" (43.6%) and "email support" (38.9%). The reason why phone and e-mail ranked so high is that unlike face-to-face communication, body language cannot make up for the lack of English proficiency. It may also be related to the fact that respondents frequently use phone and email for business purposes. 

For 3rd place onward, conversational communication had close results, such as "business negotiation / sales talk" (27.6%), "customer service" (26.5%), with "video conferencing / teleconference" (26.3%) closely following.

What problems do you have when communicating in English with your boss or colleagues?

When asked if respondents have bosses, colleagues, or subordinates who are foreigners, about 70% answered “yes" (68.8%). We asked these people if they had any problems when communicating with their boss/colleagues in English.

Episodes with a boss/colleague who is not a Japanese native

Problem due to cultural differences

  • Due to their different habits and mindset, sometimes I am not able to understand (male, 40s)

  • I want to use ambiguous expressions when communicating Japanese culture, but I can't find the appropriate English equivalent and unable to make them understand (male, 40s).

  • Detailed nuances are not conveyed well (female, 30s)

  • Because there are differences in English pronunciation depending on the country, problems occur due to misunderstandings (female, 40s)

Problems due to English capability

  • Due to my misunderstanding, I made a mistake in a translation and was close to causing a major problem (male, 30s)

  • I was misunderstood due to a slight difference in my pronunciation (male, 30s).

  • I couldn't understand the native English speaker, and ended up frustrating him because I couldn't communicate well (female, 20s).

  • Because my pronunciation and listening are not perfect, I am asked to repeat myself, causing confirmation work to increase (male, 40s).

Problems with Remote Work

  • I had difficulty trying to hear the speakers’ accent during a teleconference (female,30s)

  • I had problems keeping up with the conversation speed at the meeting (male, 30s)

  • Having to repeat myself many times during meetings, because my poor pronunciation makes it hard for people to understand (female, 30s).

When communicating with bosses and colleagues of different nationalities, there seem to be many cases where problems in business develop due to differences in culture and values, slight differences in English pronunciation, and misunderstandings. 

Due to cultural differences, problems actually occur, as in the case "There are differences in how to show respect to the other person, such as in attitude and wording, but I did not understand and made the other person resentful." Also, it seems that some people find it difficult to communicate, such as  "I've spent so much time trying to speak the language properly that my daily conversation has gone down" and "I can't communicate my gestures very well". 

Furthermore, in the case of remote working, you can say that communication in English is more difficult because face-to-face gestures cannot be communicated and voices are often difficult to hear over the devices. 

What are the perks for working at a foreign-capital company?

"Regarding the pros about working at a foreign-capital company, ""increased annual income"" (44.5%) and ""improved English ability"" (41.3%) were over 40%, with ""language ability other than (22.8%) following in third place."" Most of the respondents mentioned upward improvement in annual income and language skills.
In addition, there were a certain number of those who felt the benefits in terms of workability, such as ""no more/less overtime"" (21.0%) and ""easier to take time off such as paid leave"" (20.0%). 
And now we would like to introduce the replies of actual respondents regarding the specific benefits of annual income, English proficiency, and work-friendliness. 

"I'm so glad I worked for a foreign-capital company!"  Introducing the replies of the actual respondents

Annual Income Increase

  • Salary increased by 1.5 times (female, 30s)

  • Because it is a foreign company, the remuneration is much better. Motivation is completely different (male, 40s)

  • Many bonuses (female, 30s)

  • Every time I changed jobs, I was able to earn more income with certainty (male, 40s)

  • While overtime work decreased, my salary increased (male, 30s)

Improvement in English Proficiency

  • I used English more often at work and gained a more international sense (male, 40s).

  • I started to use English as much as possible for daily conversation. My English ability has improved and the sense of accomplishment is amazing (female, 30s)

  • I am not good at English and joined the company with the intention to overcome it. Now, even if I somebody speaks to me in English, I can confidently reply back (male, 30s).

  • I am able to communicate more deeply in English now and it has broadened my horizons (male, 30s).

  • I received an offer as an instructor from a foreign language university (male, 50s)

Friendly work environment

  • Everyone is frank and easy to work with and the holidays are flexible (female, 30s)

  • I am able to spend more time with my family (male, 40s)

  • There is no culture that forces drinking parties like Japanese companies. It is easy to take paid leave as well because the work culture accepts that paid leave should be used  (female in their 30s)

  • Work-life balance has improved because it is easy to use the paid leave and flextime systems  (male in their 40s).

In terms of annual income, many replied that their salaries and bonuses increased compared to their previous position. 

As for English proficiency, many people seem to have had a positive result, such as improving their English proficiency by using English on a daily basis and improving their TOEIC scores. Others said that improving their English skills would broaden their horizons and allow them to enjoy traveling abroad. It seems that there are many cases where improving English proficiency has a positive effect on one's own growth and the fulfillment of life. 

Regarding the working environment, many people said that the work-life balance improved and it became easier to switch on and off. 

For those who cannot find a company that matches their English level, use "en world's career support"

In this survey, it was found that approximately 60% of foreign-capital companies/departments are required to have an English proficiency level of "Business" or higher. In order not to have a hard time after joining the company, it is important to choose a new job that suits your English level. 

En world, which supports changing jobs to foreign-capital companies, will introduce you to new jobs that match your English proficiency and the required skill level. In addition, we will follow up on your career change in various aspects such as providing information on the actual conditions regarding paid leave, flextime and negotiating annual income, including firmly supporting you for one year to settle in after changing jobs. 

Whether you are currently in the process of changing jobs to a foreign-capital company or are about to start your job hunt, why don't you try consulting with en world?

"Survey title: Questionnaire on Lifestyle
Survey method: Internet research
Survey period: January 15-19, 2021
Survey target: 400 men and women in their 20s to 50s who have switched jobs to foreign-capital companies within 5 years (after 2016)"

Start with a free consultation