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Make sure that your organization is ready for ‘Englishisation’!

Romke Velders, 14 december 2022

At Acorel, we have specialized in SAP Customer Experience since 2006 and we are recognized as a reliable SAP CX partner due to this clear focus. As organisations increasingly take the importance of their customers and the associated customer experience seriously, Acorel has seen the number of clients increase considerably in recent years because of this focus. Also, as we strive for the highest possible service level this has resulted in more successful customers.

As our customer portfolio expanded, so did the need for new colleagues, which given the challenges of finding the necessary blend of experience and expertise in our national labour market, we adopted a strategy to identify, attract and engage top performers from across EMEA, regardless of an ability to work in Dutch.

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With a customer base as diverse as it can be from locally focused small medium enterprises to large internationally focused multinationals as well Dutch Not for Profit organisations, language remains a special point of attention for many clients. That said, we see more and more companies choose to use English as the working language for official internal and- external communication, especially when the organisation is a multinational and/or was originally established abroad with a large number of non-Dutch speaking expats, whose first or second language is English.
At these organisations, a lot of work communication is already in English, making the switch not difficult. Ultimately is of very practical benefit for the organisation.

However, despite the shortage on the labour market, there are still many organisations that insist on all communication in their native language, with little, if any, in English. Here command of the Dutch language remains a hard competence for these organisations and the idea of engaging English-speaking colleagues to break this impasse is often rejected. Which is a shame as these objections to having English-speaking consultants are foremost that the existing project team is not used to speaking English, and secondly that the documentation is in the original language.

This, of course, should not be the obstacle that it is made out to be. Sure, one’s native tongue will almost always be easier, but according to the world’s largest ranking of countries and regions by English skills, the majority of all countries in Europe have a high or very high proficiency.

Then take into account the following:

Among students at lower secondary level outside Britain, 97% are learning English; most of your employees are educated at Bachelors or Masters level where some level of English was mandatory and where almost all now take part in exchange programmes (Erasmus) that have English as the lingua franca. They have followed professional training (partly) in English; watched television, Netflix, YouTube and movies at the cinema in English and in short have been exposed to English their whole life, throughout their education, during their leisure time and now in their professional life.

Given the declining demographics all across Europe, the labour shortage will not be solved overnight, this year or even this decade. In fact, in 2020, 30,422 ICT vacancies were posted online, in Q2 2022 this has risen to 35,950 see UWV Labour Market Dashboard an increase of more than five thousand job offers! There are simply too many vacancies to fill with staff who can speak the local language well enough and only those organisations flexible enough to work in English will be able to truly compete for talent and ultimately survive.

Globalization of the labour market in general is already clearly taking place with one of the major outcomes being the “anglicisation” of the labour market. This is, like it or not, even more advanced in IT.

Make sure that your organization is ready for ‘Englishisation’!

Romke Velders

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