As immigration increases in the U.S., so does the percentage of people who speak another language. There is a greater need than ever before to reach and understand people and cultures who are not English-speaking. The skill of being bilingual is in high demand, and experts agree that speaking more than one language gives people a leg up in the workforce. Here are a few of the major benefits for bilingualism in the professional world.
Gives a Competitive Edge
Evidence has shown that being bilingual differentiates people from other job candidates. Diversity has never been more important and companies are realizing that in order to reach consumers of other cultures and languages, they need to hire accordingly. This means looking for people who speak other languages and understand other cultures. Because language and culture are so intertwined, bilingual speakers can bring insight to companies that strictly English speakers cannot offer.
In addition to cultural understanding, many companies are expanding globally—some even opening global offices. Globalization in itself creates a demand for foreign employees who can speak both the consumer and company language.
Gives More Options
People don’t have to look far to see immigration labor advertising. The need for diversity and cultural understanding is not limited to a specific field. For instance, if someone is tired of working in healthcare and want to explore teaching, being bilingual will help get a foot in the door. In particular, fields such as tourism, journalism, international development, and education are just a few of the fastest growing fields that are in search for bilingual employees.
The demand for bilingual workers often times means companies are willing to pay more for their services. On average, experts have found that bilingualism pays 5–20% more per hour than other employees. This is especially true if someone is a bilingual speaker who can reach a company’s consumer audience—which is usually influenced heavily by location. For example, if someone is bilingual in Spanish and lives in Arizona, there will be a higher demand for their services than if they lived in Ohio.
Whether someone relocated to the U.S. due to immigration or simply interested in becoming bilingual as a result of advertising that was seen, bilingualism in the workplace is an important skill to understand. The internet and ease of travel all have a role in speeding up globalization—and it is not expected to slow down anytime soon. Experts agree that there are significant advantages to speaking more than one language in the workplace.