The pandemic has affected the linguistic level of the Spanish company. This is an effect generated by the massive cancellation of training in companies that have been forced to confine their employees.
Without a doubt, 2020 marked a turning point in one of the sectors most affected by the pandemic: face-to-face training. According to data collected by the training office, currently more than half of language schools have had to stop offering in-person lessons due to the new situation of social distancing.
And it is that since March, the face-to-face training provided in companies had to be canceled due to the pandemic. 90% of these classes have not been restarted and only 20% have moved to virtual classroom format.
Galle Schaefer, Director of Hexagone, explains: “There is no doubt that the pandemic has hit the training industry and has forced most consulting firms to adapt overnight. Although the situation is crisis, many centers like ours have had to adapt to continue to offer a service that continues to be demanded by workers ”.
Language level deteriorates
The language level in the Spanish company continues to be poor for another year. 8 out of 10 companies will not pass an English level test.
“Spain is far behind in terms of the languages of the main European economies, such as Germany, France, the Netherlands or Sweden. In fact, our Portuguese neighbors enjoy a much higher level of languages than ours. This year’s crisis has refined language training at a time when it is at the heart of companies’ internationalization strategies ”.
Despite the existence of training courses such as those financed by Fundae, only 21% of companies request access to language courses despite this possibility due to a lack of knowledge.
The most affected SME
Spanish SMEs are the companies most affected by the level of languages. If the level is traditionally low, the pandemic has forced to focus on other needs, putting aside the need for a language strategy.
The lack of customers and the decline in sales pushed Spanish companies to seek new markets. Europe is the main target when looking for new sales. The main obstacle facing a company wishing to sell abroad is language.
According to data from the Hexagon report, 9 out of 10 Spanish companies are not ready to communicate in other languages. To remedy this problem, companies are looking more than ever for professional profiles with a high level of languages, especially English.
SMEs, by virtue of their size and margins, are the companies that suffer the most from this lack of language skills. Only 1 in 10 small businesses consulted by Hexagone recognizes being able to manage internal communication with international clients.
12% of medium-sized companies with 5 to 10 employees are in the process of selecting trained personnel with a linguistic level to take charge of the internationalization of the company.
2021 New challenges
The Hexagon report highlights the optimism for 2021 regarding training and language level in Spanish business. In the 3 years leading up to 2020, there has been an increase in the level which has stagnated in the current year.
“The human resources departments are interested and open to resuming their training for next year. It feels like we are making up for lost time that the pandemic has caused in terms of training issues. Companies want to offer their employees the solution that best guarantees them a return on investment in terms of training ”.
It is precisely from Hexagone that they stress that companies are aware of the need for an immediate internationalization strategy. Language has become a necessity to expand markets in search of new opportunities both to sell and to attract new customers.
Regarding the trends in language training for 2021, from Hexagone explain that there are two clear approaches that focus on the one hand on specific language training applied to specific teleworking needs, such as communications Via videoconferencing, communication Via e-mail in other languages, professional translations of documents and international customer service in other languages are some of the highlights.
On the other hand, there is a new trend that covers more cross-cutting topics within the company and focuses on issues of leadership or business coaching taught in another language. “There is a growing interest in vocational content training that trains workers in issues related to their profession, especially leadership, but offered in other languages,” says Galle Schaefer.
“The new form of teleworking and new habits have created situations that companies must immediately cover. Many companies have entered international markets and need to adapt their language. Translations, business conversations, presentations, etc. In recent months, many companies have had to adapt their entire activity to new languages, ”explains the director of Hexagone.
Without a doubt, 2020 will be remembered for the pandemic and the crisis it engendered in the company. Language has become the means for companies to make the leap to other markets. However, the level of Spanish companies is too low and therefore they have to go the extra mile to make it a business opportunity.
If during this year many language courses have been paralyzed, 2021 is presented as a year of opportunities to regain lost ground.