CAREER DEVELOPMENT / NOV. 18, 2014
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How Becoming Bilingual Can Enhance Your Career Prospects

Linguistic competence looks great on a CV. In fact, there is an extremely low supply of qualified bilingual language teachers in the UK, making it one of the most highly paid jobs in the profession. But teaching aside, the world of business is becoming more and more international and companies often employ bilingual workers to enhance their overseas prospect, which is making bi-linguists very valuable commodities.

According to Career Builder, the average bilingual worker will receive between five and 20% more pay than someone who is monolingual and in the same position. But despite this very clear advantage only a fraction of the UK population is able to speak another language with conversational fluency.

There’s a Huge Demand

Almost half of UK employees are in the international job market and require bilingual speakers on their workforce. But there is such a shortage of qualified candidates that over 27% of vacancies go unfilled, especially in administrative roles. As such there’s never been a better time to start learning a new language, even if it’s just to a basic standard.

Opens Up Opportunities in Booming Markets

Latin America and China are rising markets that are gaining more and more importance throughout Europe. In fact, China is expected to be the largest super power in the world by 2016; therefore, the British government has even proposed plans to start teaching primary school children Mandarin from the age of seven. Due to the next Olympic games and other big investments that are coming up in Brazil, many businesses are starting to also see the benefits of having Portuguese speakers on payroll. 

Benefits to Foreign Born Workers

The United Kingdom has a very multicultural society and in some small parts of London and other large cities, English is no longer the first language. This can be seen as a huge benefit to the business community. Schools such as the Tti School of English, provide English language learning courses, specifically tailored to expats looking for a career in business.

Benefits to Native English Speakers

Bilingualism also benefits native English speakers. Learning a new language forces people to explore their own native tongue in more detail and study the intricacies of grammar and sentence structure. Building on these skills, they become better at writing and editing, which are two skills required in virtually every job.

Language Learning Online

Luckily, in today’s highly connected digital world almost everyone has access to all sorts of free resources that can help mono-linguists gain a basic understanding of other languages. The Internet is home to hundreds of thousands of websites offering tuition, smart phone translation services, and even live chat lessons through Skype. However, while this accessibility is making language learning easier than ever before, reaching a competent level does require direct communication. Companies such as Asian Horizons are bridging this gap by offering prospects a mixture of online tuition and real tuition via tailored language learning tours.

Bilingualism is by no means crucial, but it’ll certainly provide a significant amount of benefits; and in the future could even be a necessary prerequisite for the majority of high-level jobs in the business sector.

 

Image: iStock

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