Many people say – “I can get by with English” – “why do I need to bother about learning a second language”, this may be ok in an English speaking country with English speaking clients and colleagues, but what about when the world comes to your doorstep. There are 5.5 billion people who don’t speak any English at all!
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 hirable 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”.
Job promotions. There aren't many situations where language skills are the reason that someone gets passed over for a promotion, or even just to keep your job. But in an increasingly competitive job market, why would you not give yourself every possible edge? Being able to communicate in other languages makes you much more valuable to an employer.
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.
More money. While there are no definitive studies showing the increase in pay for those who are bilingual, there are many personal anecdotes, which show that being bilingual is an advantage when it comes to pay rates.
Look at the following statements taken from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2014/04/17/how-learning-an-additional-language-could-influence-your-business/
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 the U.S. 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.
Foreign consumers, the majority of whom primarily speak languages other than English, represent signiﬁcant business opportunities for American producers, as the United States is home to less than ﬁve percent of the world’s population. Additionally, trade is shifting to diﬀerent parts of the world, the CED notes. The United States’ annual trade with Asia is now approaching $800 billion (as of 2006—the sum is likely even much greater today), significantly out-pacing our trade with Europe. (Note to career seekers: for your job and salary prospects as well, being fluent in a second language is a definite plus.)
Discover 5 of the fastest-growing languages in the business world right now and contact us with a VLLC Course coordinator to discuss your personal vocational requirements.