Updated: Sep 4, 2020
The knowledge of languages has become essential in the job market and a real asset on the CV. With the phenomenon of globalisation, languages are wanted more than ever before and the demand for linguistic and communication skills is continually increasing on the labour market. With equal competencies, the profile of a candidate mastering one or more foreign languages is highly likely to be favoured.
Enhanced employability prospects
Learning a language is fundamental in today’s society. In terms of job seeking, mastering languages besides your mother tongue is a favourable factor in the selection process for a job. The knowledge of languages increases the possibilities of finding a job by 44%.
The UK Commission for Employment and Skills found that of reasons employers have for struggling to fill vacancies, 17% were attributed to a language skills shortage, second behind IT skills. A report from the Confederation of British Industry recognizes that 7 in 10 businesses value foreign language skills among their employees. The report highlights that in building client relationships and customer service, knowing another language is crucial to success.
Furthermore, to apply for medium and top position jobs, fluency in the English language is a requirement in 80% of the cases. According to the European Commission, 90% of European students study the English language at some point during their compulsory education.
Higher cognitive intelligence
Beyond the obvious benefits of being able to communicate with more people, being bilingual has also been proven to make you smarter. Learning a new language can have a large impact on your brain, improving other cognitive skills unrelated to language.
Studies have shown that when a bilingual person is speaking a language, their brain has both language systems activated. Bilinguals are also thought to be more capable of working through particular mental puzzles because of this. As a skill in high demand in the labour market, problem solving abilities would certainly be beneficial to get ahead of the competition.
Besides thinking smarter, bilinguals also appear to think in a more creative manner. Indeed, a study carried out in 2012 showed that bilingual children were both better problem solvers and creative thinkers. Bilingualism encourages people to see the world in a different light and understand cultures in much more immersive way. Thus, it’s no surprise that the world – or at least the job market – is the bilingual’s oyster.
So, what can we draw from this? If you’re already bilingual, then you’re ahead of the game regarding employment. For those of you considering learning a new language, go for it, it’s all advantages!
If you are seeking to improve your employability by adding a second language, some languages seem to be more highly coveted in the job market. According to Investopedia, if you speak Spanish, French, Mandarin, Arabic, American Sign Language, Russian, German, or Portuguese, you’ll be even more likely to have an edge in the workplace.