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AmCham cites poor English skills of Taiwanese as problem

TAIPEI--Poor English proficiency among Taiwanese workers in general creates hiring difficulties for American companies in Taiwan, the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Taipei said Thursday.

Despite offering high salaries, many American companies based in Taiwan face problems finding suitable people to fill vacancies that require English language skills, AmCham Chairman Thomas Fann said in a news conference.

In some cases, the hiring process can take as long as a year, which causes severe damage to the companies in question, Fann said.

The situation, which stands in sharp contrast to the high unemployment rate among local university graduates, reflects a demand-supply imbalance in Taiwan's job market, he warned.

According to the results of the 2014 Business Climate Survey released by AmCham that same day, 48 percent of the respondents plan to increase their investments in Taiwan in the coming years, while 41 percent plan to increase their employment levels.

Sixty-one percent of the respondents, however, expressed concern that Taiwan's economy might take a downturn in 2014, up from 58 percent in 2013.

The survey, conducted last November and December, was open to voting representatives of the AmCham Taipei member companies. A total of 220 questionnaires were submitted, with a 52 percent response rate.

January 10, 2014    curtisakbar@
Yep, English levels are very poor and when you try to teach children English you get nothing but complaints as the students aren't running around playing games and having fun. Why does this culture about learning English exist? During Chinese classes, kids sit and repetitively read, science classes children read textbooks, do experiments etc. But English is the fun class for generally taking the pi55 and slacking off.
January 10, 2014    clh0728@
This is surprising because many Taiwanese graduates claimed they went to the US and UK for graduate studies, mind you not any run-of-the-mills universities but prestigious ones and came back with master degrees as proof of their English eloquence. There must have been a disconnect in the survey.
January 13, 2014    gauthier74@
Poor English proficiency?! Back in 1996, I was working in Hsinchu and stayed at a hotel in the then-called "Combat Zone". I never noticed poor English proficiency. Even during a visit in Kaohsiung (also in 1996), no issues with English. Since then, I have been in Taiwan on a regular basis and can confirm that by and large the English is quite good. Even the Kingbus drivers (that was before HSR) spoke quite well English. That is, I suppose, because Taiwan very early was a country focused on exports. So poor English proficiency? Yes, in the Bronx perhaps (or in the Taipei American Club, but that is another story...).
January 13, 2014    curtisakbar@
I know many students that claimed to have got a masters from the UK/USA but in fact they just went and did a short semester long course and claim it is a masters.
January 13, 2014    jim.purplepeopleeaters.hill@
No disconnect. US/UK graduate programs for non-natives are a joke. Just another way to make money and give Taiwanese a pretty diploma to show all their family & friends. Content is always the problem in Taiwan. Starts with hiring foreigners who are not real teachers.

Don't half-a$$ hiring to save a few dollars and get qualified teachers like in every other country. Focus on content not face.
January 13, 2014    gauthier74@
Sorry to contradict you. I have got myself two MSc degrees and an MBA from a British University (not an ex-polytech). The MBA, by the way was AMBA accredited (the equivalent to the U.S. AACSB accreditation). If you do an MBA or an MSc at a well-established British university, you have to learn hard for your degree and proficient English definitely is a must. I know many Taiwanese students who went to my university and have obtained postgraduate degrees. Maybe they are a joke in the U.S. (if you refer to Grambling State University) but definitely not in the U.K. (as long as you avoid the ex-polytechs). And I can assure you that Taiwanese students do go to established universities. Also, do you know what Taiwanese children do after school? They go to English language centres to learn English! I have seen it myself.
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