I have worked in Austria ever since I arrived in 1992. I first worked in city logistics, and since 1996 I have been teaching and coaching English, translating and copywriting for businesses in Salzburg, in Austria and also in Germany. In this time, I have been in and out of hundreds of offices, companies, warehouses, agencies and institutions.
One thing always struck me when I entered a room and people realised I was English; some people spoke really good English and would start up a conversation with me, others avoided eye contact and would answer any questions in German. Back in 1992 there was no internet, no e-mail and almost all business was conducted in German.
A quarter of a century later, the amount of basic English spoken has increased dramatically, but the people who happily speak English with me are not always those who need to speak and write English the most. Obviously, there are several parameters to consider when employing new staff and many people may have been loyal members of the team for many years.
However, as job descriptions change, requirements change too. Most companies are able to ensure the right people, meeting the latest requirements, join their workforce and strengthen their teams, but the key issue of English skills is often left to a glance at the CV.
Is that such a good idea?