From education to employment

Careers for Bilinguals

People sat in lecture room

“The more you learn, the more you earn” is a well-known quote from Warren Buffet, the American business magnate. But how true is this saying, and how relevant is it to language learning?

We know that communication skills are desirable in pretty much any job you will apply throughout your career. Being able to work effectively with colleagues, clients and stakeholders are essential, and at the heart of this lies good communication.

We live in a world that is constantly evolving to become more globalised and multicultural, allowing us to interact with more people all over the world, both at work and in our personal lives. This means we are exposed to a wider variety of cultures and languages than ever before.

It is therefore useful for people in today’s society to understand the benefits of speaking more than just one language. But how much of a difference can listing a second language on your CV really make your career prospects?

Ukrainian startup Preply was built on the idea of connecting people of different cultures around the world use languages, and the language learning provider realises just how beneficial multiple languages are to an individual and their career. Preply’s Campaigns Manager, Daniele Saccardi, dives deeper into the link between bilingualism and job prospects.

“It is becoming increasingly common to see a second language cited as ‘useful’ on a job description” says Saccardi. This is true, with Newsdle reporting earlier this year that half of UK employers cite Spanish language skills as useful to their business. This trend continued with 37% citing Mandarin, and 26% citing Arabic as being a desirable asset to bring to the vacancy. These numbers may be surprising, considering the BBC’s estimation that over 95% of the British population are monolingual English speakers.

Surely then, this shows there is huge career potential for those of us who do embark on the journey of learning a new language. Bilingualism has the potential to make you far more desirable in the eyes of potential employers and outcompete your job competitors. But what does it mean for your salary? The Economist produced some statistics on the percentage increase in salary dependent on your second language. According to the report, speaking Spanish as a foreign language leads to an average of a 1.5% bonus in earnings. A boost of 2.5% is attributed to French, and German speakers could see an increase of 3.8%. Although these percentages may look small on paper, a 3.8% increase on the average UK salary over ten years amounts to an extra £14,500 of earnings!

During this time of uncertainty amid the rising cost of living, Preply realises the importance of broadening employment opportunities for its customers. Research has shown that language is one sure-fire way to catch the attention of employers, and in turn increase the earning opportunities for those that speak a foreign language.

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