The ability to speak fluently in two or more languages makes you a highly eligible candidate in the job market, and even just knowing a few useful words and phrases in another language will help you stand out.
With the increase in globalization and deterioration of cultural barriers across the world, effective communication is fast becoming a priority from community support such as in the healthcare and social work sectors, to customer-led service across a range of industries.
The number of non-English speakers is on the rise. According to The Wall Street Journal, a survey carried out by the University of Phoenix Research Institute established that the demand for American workers with proficient foreign language skills is set to keep soaring through the next decade.
Think ahead, as your choice of second language significantly influences your employment prospects. An English speaker who is learning Welsh, for instance, certainly won’t have the same opportunities as that of an English native speaker who is learning Spanish. From the findings of its survey, the University of Phoenix recommends Spanish and Chinese as the most marketable foreign languages in the US. Others include Hindi, Russian, German and Portuguese.
1. Translators and Interpreters
No surprise with this one! Translators and interpreters serve as a bridge between two languages. Translators convert written information from one language to another, while interpreters do the same with verbal information. The services of these professionals are more commonly needed in hospitals, conference centers, educational institutions, media houses, courts and immigration facilities.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that between now and 2026, the employment of translators and interpreters will increase by 18%, significantly faster than the 7 percent average for all occupations.
2. Emergency Services
In most countries, people can make an emergency telephone call to ask for medical or police help using just three numbers. In North America, the number is 911. In the United Kingdom, the number is 999, as in some Asian countries. In the European Union, the number is 112.
For many people, facing an emergency situation without the means to explain critical details like medical symptoms or the location of an incident is equally traumatic as the emergency itself. From the emergency telecommunications staff to first responders on the ground, such as firefighters, police officers etc., when emergency response professionals speak the languages of victims and their families, they are able to provide life-saving services faster, more accurately, and with greater success.
Paramedics provide emergency healthcare services. Their job is to sit tight in an ambulance and wait for a call dispatching them to a specific location. Together with emergency care technicians (EMTs), bilingual paramedics are more desirable employers since they can effectively attend to patients without any difficulties in communication.
With the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimating a 15% increase in the demand of EMTs and Paramedics, you would have a better chance of securing a job in this field if you are a proficient speaker of a second language. The benefits of being multilingual in the Healthcare Industry are many, right from providing a greater sense of comfort and understanding towards the patients and their culture, to opening up job prospects in other parts of the world for themselves.
Apart from developed countries seeing an increase in ethnically diverse immigrants over the years, various experts from the developed countries have started stepping foot in under-developed and developing nations with programs such as Doctors without Borders, Aid for Africa and organizations such as UNICEF and WHO partnering with pharmaceutical companies to provide necessary medical facilities. For busy professionals working shifts, a self-learning language portal seems like a great option to learn a few key words that can make a real difference.
4. Human Resources
Many organizations are actively looking to hire bilingual human resource specialists. Unlike monolingual HR professionals, bilinguals are able to help companies bring foreign language-speaking workers on board with ease. This helps to improve workplace diversity, a concept that is currently driving organizations to greater financial success. According to research by McKinsey and Company, companies with an ethnically diverse workforce are 35 percent more likely to do better than those without.
5. Customer Service
Customer service representatives are tasked with handling customer queries and complaints. They are typically the first line of communication with a company’s customers. As the number of people speaking foreign languages increases, so does the need for businesses to hire bilingual customer representatives in a bid to eliminate language barriers with customers who don’t speak English.
By hiring employees who can speak the language of the customer, companies are able to grow their customer base and enhance customer loyalty. The BLS reports that the demand for Customer Service Representatives will grow by 5% within the next 10 years. Multi-lingual call centers are becoming the norm, and always on the lookout for culturally savvy call handlers.
6. Social Workers or Community Workers
The provision of quality social services is a key objective of not only the federal government, but also of the state and local governments. Social workers are the professionals tasked with visiting families, identifying their needs and facilitating the provision of services such as health care and counselling to those who need it the most.
Since American families come from diverse ethnic backgrounds, bilingualism helps social workers to overcome communication problems and attend to as many households as possible. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the demand for Social Workers will grow by 16% by 2026, much faster than the average.
Disaster relief worker is another key job where language and cultural sensitivity play an important role. These first responders react to natural disasters, wars, or outbreaks of disease in the country. Cultural awareness and language ability are equally as important as good judgment and tact.
7. Bank Tellers
Although money knows no language, its owners do! The customers who walk into banking halls speak different languages, so it’s essential that bank tellers are proficient in a second language. Particularly in the United States, the demand for bank tellers who are fluent in English and Spanish is skyrocketing as more and more banks look to tap into the growing number of Spanish-speaking communities.
For those already in these professions or wanting to pursue similar careers, learning a language or more could go a long way, even if it’s just the basics, and the self-learning language portal seems like a great option to do so.