Study on Spoken English Skills of Engineers.

In the last few years, thanks to jobs becoming global, the importance of English has increased manifold. It has over the years become an important medium of communication, both at international and intra-national levels. The importance of spoken English is even more, because there are many cases where one knows his subject well, but fails to communicate it properly. The practice of spoken English, therefore, is quite essential. In today’s corporate world, the need for effective communication has been recognized and accepted more than the technical knowledge. There is evidence that better English leads to better employment outcomes, higher wages and better growth [1].

Aspiring Minds’ National Spoken English Skills Report (SES), Engineers analyses employability variances in Indian engineers owing to their spoken English skills. The report reveals that close to 52% engineers are not employable for any job in the knowledge economy owing to their spoken English skills. Industry complains about lack of enough graduates with proper SES and also movement of business in countries with better SES [2].

 

Some key findings of the report are:

  • Around 3/4th engineers do not have SES required for any job in knowledge economy
    • Of the six hundred thousand engineers that graduate annually, only 2.9% candidates have spoken English skills (SES) for high-end jobs in corporate sales/business consulting. These candidates show capability to understand and speak English fluently to both natives and non-natives with ease. These are some of the best paying jobs in the market. Around 3/4th engineers do not have SES required for any job in knowledge economy. This signals that there is a need for higher emphasis not only on written English but also on SES.
  • Males and females show similar SES
    • Females show slightly better written language ability, whereas males show better spoken element. The same is confirmed by AMCAT English scores. There is a slight skew in the female distribution to the lower side.
  • The key problem is in pronunciation, fluency skills followed by grammar and sentence construction
    • Engineers show larger gap in elements of spoken English, pronunciation and fluency, followed by grammar, though they do relatively better in vocabulary and spoken English understanding. The report mentions that only 6.8% engineers show ability to speak/respond spontaneously. These candidates can speak fluently, with good pronunciation and proper sentence construction. There needs to be greater emphasis on spoken elements of English in schools and colleges other than written element.
  • Engineers in metro do much better in spoken English skills as compared to those in non-metros
    • The report reveals that candidates from metros do substantially better in both cases. For instance, twice the number of candidates from metros have a high level of SES as compared to non-metros. Candidates with permanent address in metros do much better than those in non-metros. Even if engineers move to non-metros for education, they maintain their high level of English. Those candidates that move from non-metros to metros have better SES, but not as well as those with permanent address in metros. There is a need to concentrate on SES in school and formative years.
  • 25%-33% candidates show proficiency in using words and grammar constructs used in day-to-day life
    • 33% candidates know the meaning of words like update, stern, etc. Highlighting poor understanding of words. Whereas, a dismal 25% candidates understand usage of basic grammar constructs, like right use of articles and tenses. The right training, at one end, and employability assessments acting as feedback at the other, will help both in goal-setting and tracking progress to improve SES of a larger proportion of engineers.

 

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