UK firms failing to employ bilingual executives

Business
leaders in the UK still lag behind their international counterparts in terms of
foreign language skills, according to a new survey.

The
Grant Thornton International Business Owners Survey 2004 shows just 36 per cent
of UK businesses employ executives with the language skills necessary to
negotiate in a second language.

In
the EU as a whole, 70 per cent businesses have executives with these foreign
language abilities.

The
international study was carried out across 6,900 medium-sized businesses in 26
countries worldwide. It revealed that in Europe, Greece and Sweden have the
highest proportion of businesses with executives able to converse in more than
one language, with 96 per cent.

Other
European countries scoring highly included The Netherlands with 92 per cent and
Spain with 90 per cent. After the UK, the next lowest placed country in Europe
was Ireland, on 46 per cent.

By Quentin Reade

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