How Does Learning a Language Help You Get a (Good) Job?

If you’re bilingual and on the job hunt, you have a lot more chances in the market; if you are multilingual, the market is practically begging for you! Do you wanna know what it’s like to be in demand in the job market? Well, that’s exactly what we have for you below!

Speak a second language fluently and you’ll have more ammo to bump up your salary. 

That ‘s plain.

What you maybe don’t know yet are the myriad ways in which language learning can enhance your employability and provide real-life examples of individuals who have leveraged their language skills for professional success.

The global impact of language learning

In an era where businesses operate on a global scale, language proficiency is a valuable asset. Companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of employees who can navigate cultural nuances and communicate effectively with international partners and clients. 

But remember: learning a new language is not just about memorizing vocabulary – it’s about understanding different cultures, perspectives, and ways of doing business.

For example, consider the case of Maria Rodriguez, a marketing professional who decided to learn Mandarin. She is from Costa Rica, has just graduated in marketing and is looking for a job. 

“In the beginning, my friends teased me because Chinese culture is so different from my home country, but something told me that a vast and growing job market was about to open up for me.”

After achieving fluency in Mandarin, Maria’s language skills not only allowed her to communicate with Chinese clients but also gave her a deeper insight into the local market. This led to successful marketing campaigns tailored to Chinese consumers, ultimately boosting the company’s revenue and solidifying her position as a key player in the organization.

The numbers say it all!

A recent survey by Preply revealed the following:

  • 48% of people who speak just one language feel they are at a disadvantage.
  • 85% of people would like to be fluent in a second language.
  • 61% believe speaking more languages would help them professionally.
  • 79% were willing to learn another language for a job!

Another survey among employers, by NFLC, had this result:

  • 66% of them included foreign language skills in the hiring process.
  • 41% of them had preference for multilingual applicants.

Language diversity and career flexibility

The job market is dynamic, and flexibility is a sought-after quality in employees. Proficiency in multiple languages enhances your adaptability and makes you a valuable asset across various industries.

Take the example of James Thompson, an IT specialist who learned French in addition to his native English. He talked to us recently from his home city, Atlanta, US to explain his task:

“I picked up French almost as a hobby, engaging in conversations through language exchange platforms years ago. When my company expanded its operations to francophone countries in Africa, I seamlessly transitioned into a role where I could provide technical support and training in both languages – remotely! It’s quite enjoyable.”

He recognized that, back when he was a beginner in French, he never imagined he would use it for his work, and it significantly boosted his earnings!

We were truly amazed by his story! His ability to bridge the language gap not only ensured a smooth expansion but also positioned him as an indispensable team member.

Imagine being part of a virtual team where members speak different languages. Your ability to communicate in multiple languages can break down barriers, foster collaboration, and contribute to the overall success of the team.

Language learning and entrepreneurship

Oh, yeah: entrepreneurs, too, can benefit immensely from language skills! Whether you’re launching a startup or expanding an existing business, the ability to connect with a diverse range of customers and partners can be a game-changer. 

The founder of a successful e-commerce platform, a guy from Germany, attributes part of his success to his proficiency in Spanish. Alex Schmidt is his name. His skill in Spanish allowed him to establish strong relationships with suppliers in Spanish-speaking countries, negotiate better deals, and provide a personalized experience for his Spanish-speaking customers.

“Learning Spanish has been an unexpected game-changer for me in my business. My intention was to open doors to my business, of course, but it brought me valuable connections that I could never imagine!”, he remembered, and added “Negotiations became smoother, and I noticed my approach with my Spanish-speaking partners got more personalized – and that’s important! It’s amazing how a language can significantly impact the way you do business.”

Additionally, understanding the language and culture of your target market can give you a competitive edge. It’s not just about selling a product or service; it’s about creating a connection with your audience. Language is a powerful tool for building trust and establishing rapport.

Language learning and the tech industry

The technology sector is known for its rapid evolution and global reach. In this industry, language skills can set you apart and open doors to unique opportunities. 

The Indian Raj Patel is a software engineer who decided to learn Japanese. Well, tech industry… Japan… they are so connected! Raj had foresight!

“When a leading Japanese tech company was looking to collaborate with an international team on a groundbreaking project, my language skills in Japanese became a decisive factor! I could contribute with my technical expertise but could also facilitate smooth communication between the Japanese and international teams, ensuring the project’s success! It’s not easy to find a software engineer in my country that is fluent in Japanese, so… I was a needle in a haystack!”

Furthermore, you know: many tech companies operate in a multicultural environment. Being able to communicate with colleagues, clients, and partners in their native languages can foster a collaborative and inclusive work culture.

The rise of remote work and language learning

The shift towards remote work has accelerated in recent years, making geographical borders less relevant. This trend has created new opportunities for individuals with language skills. 

Companies are now more willing to hire talent from different parts of the world, and language proficiency plays a crucial role in this globalized workforce.

Helena Barros talked to us from Brazil. She is a graphic designer based in Porto Alegre, the south of the country. By adding Italian and French to her skill set, she expanded her client base beyond her local market, as she claims: 

“The best thing I ever did in my life was learn other languages! Now I work from home, chillin’, and I’ve boosted my client base by over 30%! I mostly serve European clients, raking in a salary that’s two times higher than my colleagues! I’d advise any professional to pick up at least a second language – it seriously skyrockets your income!”

Language learning for diplomacy and international relations

For those interested in diplomacy and international relations, language proficiency is not just an advantage – it’s an absolute requirement. Government agencies, non-profit organizations, and international institutions seek individuals who can navigate diplomatic discussions in multiple languages.

Some months ago, we found Erik van der Meer, from Netherlands, a foreign affairs analyst, who underscores the significance of language skills in his field:

“In diplomacy, understanding the subtleties of language is crucial. It’s not just about translation, it’s about grasping the cultural context and conveying messages in a way that resonates with different audiences,” says van der Meer. 

His proficiency in Arabic, for instance, enabled him to play a pivotal role in diplomatic missions in the Middle East, where language barriers can be particularly challenging.

Language learning and the education sector

The education sector is another realm where language skills are highly valued. Bilingual or multilingual teachers have a unique ability to connect with students from diverse linguistic backgrounds, creating a more inclusive learning environment. 

Additionally, educators with language proficiency can contribute to the development of language programs and curricula. In life, everything starts with a teacher, anyway!

The case of Isabella Bianchi, an Italian teacher fluent in Arabic and Spanish, left us all touched! She shares her experience: 

“My ability to communicate with Spanish and Arabic-speaking youngsters and their parents has not only strengthened the bond between the school and the community but has also allowed me to tailor my teaching methods to meet the needs of bilingual students. It’s incredibly rewarding to see students thrive academically and personally when they feel truly understood.”

But it’s not just that, as she pointed out: “As the world knows, our country has been hosting crowds of refugees, and they need to integrate into our society quickly. At the same time, they might feel intimidated if they realized I don’t understand a word they’re saying. But when they realize I speak their language, oh boy! They smile, and they pick up Italian way faster! It’s so rewarding to help these folks overcome their challenges!”

She is right: 82% of job postings in the EU are written in the official local language of the country in which they are published. In France, this number rises to almost 98%!

How many languages and which ones?

You need to stand out from others. Reality is harsh: coveted job positions often receive hundreds, sometimes thousands, of applications! 

Speaking a second language can help you distinguish yourself from the crowd, especially when your experience and qualifications are similar to those of other candidates. Ensure that your language skills are highlighted on your resume so that they catch the eye.

Now, if we tell you that 35% of Europeans aged 25 to 64 are at least bilingual, you’ll probably realize that speaking a second language is no longer a rare trait…

What languages are in-demand for jobs?

Time to ponder the best language for your career.

  1. English

It’s still among the most powerful languages for several reasons:

  • It’s one of the most studied languages in the world.
  • There are over a billion English speakers in the world.
  • It’s the official language in the United States, the United Kingdom, in Canada, 3 of the most influential nations.

Most of the countries have English as a regular subject in basic school, but that’s no longer sufficient for a successful career.

Speaking about careers, here you have those in which English is mandatory:

  • finance
  • technology and IT
  • economics
  • management
  1. Mandarin chinese

Mandarin is challenging for most other native languages (especially for Latin and Saxon) but worth the effort.

China has a huge global economic role today (look around you and spot some “made in China” stuff!). 

Mandarin is a strategic choice, then, for those working in import-export. If that’s your niche, take advantage of the fact that it’s not easy to find a professional fluent in it. 

  1. Arabic

Arabic has become more and more important in business, for 2 reasons:

  • It has a large number of speakers (and migration has led to their increased presence in Europe today).
  • It holds a notable position in the energy sector, particularly in oil and gas, that has been critical for all countries.

Although challenging to learn, Arabic is recommended for these careers:

  • energy
  • commerce
  • diplomacy
  • international relations
  • cultural mediation.
  1. Spanish

With around 548 million speakers spread throughout 20 countries on all continents, there is no doubt it’s a valuable language! 

If you intend to work in the tourism sector, you need to be fluent in Spanish! Also, trade professionals will see it as an advantageous language to learn. 

  1. Russian 

Yes, Russian! Nowhere has so many billionaires as in Moscow, its capital city!  

Being fluent in Russian can be a big plus for these industries:

  • oil
  • minerals
  • refrigeration
  • banking 

It also does extensive business with European and Asian countries..

Finishing off…

What’s your take on it?

In a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected, language skills are a valuable asset that can open doors to a wide array of job opportunities. 

Real-life examples of individuals who have leveraged their language skills for success highlighted the practical benefits of language learning. 

What about embarking on your language-learning journey right now? Meet our current members and find one who speaks your target language!

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