So what are some of the advantages and how can you make the hours of learning a second language impact your pay packet….
Your CV. Being able to speak a foreign language and having experience with a different culture looks good on any application. It also assumes many other soft skills, that HR managers rate highly - such as empathy towards non English speakers, cultural flexibility, international outlook. In today's competitive job market being bilingual is a tremendous value-add to employers that separates you from the other pile of resumes. The more diverse your skill set is the more emplyable you become. According to the latest Education and Skills Survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), “72% of businesses say they value foreign language skills” and 52% say they are “recruiting new staff with language skills”. The Languages for Jobs report, published by the European Commission, also found that “40% of recruiters in the industry sector highlighted the importance of language skills for future higher education graduates”.
David Goodman-Smith, managing partner at China Study Abroad, a full-service agency based in Beijing, says his company's fastest-growing group of students are people looking to enhance their employment opportunities. "Having that competitive edge on your CV these days can be invaluable and Mandarin is without a doubt an eye-catcher. Companies are on the lookout for these kinds of experiences more and more," he explains.
Rapport building. Building your network. As we all know, most business is based on relationships – especially in Asia. The minute you start to speak your client’s language, you build rapport which can save time and money in the long term. Isn’t it easy to ring and directly talk to your clients, rather than go through a translator.
The U.S. Committee on Economic Development (CED) suggests that American businesses lose more than $2 billion a year to language or cultural misunderstandings. To be successful, international businesses (which are pretty much all of us these days, as foreign trade has become a substantial component of our economy) need to adapt to the needs of foreign clients as well as to communicate with foreign partners effectively.
Consider these statements from the CED:
“For Richard Wagoner, the President and CEO of General Motors, learning Portuguese while on assignment in Brazil increased his eﬀectiveness in working with the Brazilian business community. Douglas Daft, the former chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company, spent nearly three decades living in Asia while working for Coca-Cola. He believes the cultural knowledge he gained from his time in the region shaped his ability to lead the company, and considers understanding and valuing other cultures to be an essential skill for anyone working at Coca-Cola.”
Nearly 80% of business leaders surveyed believe their overall business would increase notably if they had more internationally competent employees on staﬀ, the CED concludes. Additionally, one in five U.S. manufacturing jobs was already tied to exports by 2006, the CED maintains.
Have a look at the current Languages of the Future. https://www.britishcouncil.org/organisation/policy-insightresearch/languages-future-2017.
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