Employment and non-native English speakers

How Much is a TOEIC Score Worth? More than $11,000 to this Employer

SoftBank, recently in the news for its acquisition of the third largest U.S. telecommunications company, Sprint Nextel, has now made another investment—this time in its employees.

Beginning this year and continuing through 2015, those scoring 900 out of possible 990 points on the TOEIC Listening & Reading test will earn a bonus of 1 million yen ($11,269).

Employees scoring between 800 and 899 will receive a smaller bonus of 300,000 yen (about $3,380).

Setting the Right English Scores for Your Company’s Jobs: We Make It Easy

Every organization and every job is unique. TOEIC test developers recognize that and so rather than setting “one size fits all” pass-fail standards for hiring or employee evaluation, they encourage employers to define what English language skills people in particular positions need to succeed with their individual job responsibilities.

Such flexibility makes sense—an assembly line worker does not need the same English language skills as a software consultant. In the U.S., such distinctions also need to be considered to ensure compliance with government anti-discrimination standards. 

But how do you know what score levels you need for your organization's different types of positions? The answer is that you don’t have to know. We will help you.

We have access to a range of tools from simple charts and industry averages to a questionnaire analysis process or statistical review of actual pilot testing.

Success Story: Reordering Hiring Steps Saves Employer Money, Improves Results

Thai Airlines since 1988 has used the TOEIC tests, the gold standard for workplace English proficiency assessment, to screen flight attendant applicants. However, a recent, simple change in their hiring process steps has now provided them with significant savings as well as improving the quality of their screening.
Becoming a flight attendant is an extremely popular goal, with about 10,000 applicants for Thai Airlines typically competing for around 100-150 open positions. Originally, the airline did an initial screen to try to determine which applicants seemed to fit their broad range of qualification requirements. This initial screening typically cut candidates down to about 1,000 applicants.
Claimed English proficiency was one initial screening measure. Those applicants that made it through the initial round then took the TOEIC test to confirm their English proficiency claims.

'Cold Cash' Reasons to Test Workplace English Proficiency

As discussed in my previous post, lack of employee English proficiency at the levels needed for their jobs is a serious problem even in the United States (as well as other "English speaking" nations increasingly relying on non-native speakers).

 But what does this mean for the U.S. employers? How does it impact "cold cash" results? Not well. A few of the different impacts:

Hiring Non-Native English Speakers Can Help U.S. Businesses

When I talk about TOEIC testing with businesses, many wonder why they would need such testing here in the United States. The U.S. after all is an English-language-speaking country. Isn't it?

Maybe not to the extent you would think.

According to the latest Immigration Outlook study from OECD, the United States is the world's top destination for permanent immigrants. By 2009, the most recent year for which census data is available, 13% of U.S. residents were foreign-born, and the percentage continues to grow.

Especially in large, insular immigrant communities and among those who immigate as adults, English is learned slowly. For example, one in three of all Asian Americans report problems communicating in English according to a recent report from the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice.

Hiring and English Language Skills: When is Testing Discriminatory?

Human resource management professionals are careful to avoid discriminating against job applicants based on national origin, especially since such discrimination is prohibited by U.S. law. They need to knowto what extent is assessing the language proficiency of job applicants or employees from non-English-speaking countries allowable? 

Fortunately, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides clear guidelines on when such testing is allowed and appropriate. In brief

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