TOEIC® Program Identifies Three Gaps That Impact Global Growth Potential

New research from ETS and Ipsos Public Affairs highlights English proficiency gaps that may hinder success

Jul 22, 2015, 17:00 ET from Educational Testing Service

PRINCETON, N.J., July 22, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new white paper from Educational Testing Service (ETS), creator of the TOEIC® program, and Ipsos Public Affairs identifies three critical gaps facing companies building an English-proficient workforce to compete in an increasingly global economy.

"Falling Through the Cracks: Potential Pitfalls Along the Road to English-Language Proficiency" highlights gaps in three critical areas: priority, proficiency and assessment. The paper, based on a survey of 749 senior human relations professionals at multinational corporations from around the world, analyzes the impact these gaps have on business and considers how addressing the gaps can contribute to individual and company growth.

Key findings suggest that the priority placed on encouraging employees to be proficient in English considerably trails the reported need for English-speaking employees. Less than 65 percent of companies actively encourage their workers to be proficient in English, leaving a significant 16-point priority gap. Companies that acknowledge the need to improve English skills within the workforce but do not address it may be unable to operate in the global market.

Similar differences exist when companies are asked whether English-language proficiency is important in the workplace. Nearly nine out of 10 respondents say English-language proficiency is important, but only two-thirds think their employees' English-language proficiency is adequate.

Finally, although two-thirds of the HR professionals surveyed said their companies provide formal English-language proficiency training for employees, only 24 percent train and then test participants at the completion of the program. This leaves the assessment gap at 41 percentage points.

"Companies that address these shortfalls early on will be able to use English-language skills among their employees as an enabler of global communications," said Feng Yu, Executive Director of the TOEIC program at ETS. "The ability to communicate on a global scale will ultimately position businesses to compete and thrive in the global economy over the long term."

The full white paper can be downloaded from Additional supplements related to specific countries and industries will be released later this year.

About Why English Matters:

In 2014, the creators of the ETS TOEIC® program launched, a comprehensive online resource dedicated to showcasing the impact of English proficiency on global business. From the Documentary Series featuring leading multinational companies to infographics, research and articles on English proficiency in the workplace, brings together helpful information in one convenient place in order to advance the conversation about the impact of English on organizations worldwide.

About TOEIC®:

For more than 30 years, the TOEIC® test has been the global standard for measuring workplace English-language communication skills. The TOEIC® Family of Assessments, including the TOEIC® Listening and Reading test, the TOEIC® Speaking and Writing test and the TOEIC Bridge™ test, is used by nearly 14,000 businesses, organizations and government agencies in 150 countries. In 2012, almost 7 million TOEIC tests were administered worldwide, solidifying the TOEIC program as the largest and most widely used English-language assessment program for the workplace. For more information on the TOEIC tests and other services provided by the TOEIC program, visit

About ETS:

At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, and by conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series® assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.

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SOURCE Educational Testing Service