A recent survey from a US-based recruiter found that nealy 9 out of 10 headhunters in Europe, Latin America and Asia say that being bilingual is critical for success in today’s business environment. 66 percent of North American recruiters agreed that being bilingual will be increasingly important in the next ten years.
Moreso with the way “borderless” businesses are these days. Take the support industry for instance. Online, people buy products from say the USA, but receive support for the products thru call centers in South East Asia. I’ve heard of support agents in the Philippines who know at least 3 languages (English, Spanish & German), and they’re really well paid for an 8-hour sit-in job.
Right now, the most sought after languages you must aim for are what insiders believe to be the most popular and marketable — these languages are Spanish, German, French, Italian, Russian and Japanese. China has recently caught up because of their booming economy, so add Mandarin to the list as well.
If you speak at least 3 from this list, you’re a prime catch! Aside from the call center industry there are more industry demands for even the “conversationalist”.
Taking a good cue of this skill-in-demand are many learning options. Universities are aware that as businesses become more global, adding a foreign language into their subject roster can attract more students.
There are several different kinds of foreign language certificate and degree programs available, from continuing education and community college classes to instructional books, DVDs, and CDs.
Jesse Boeding, director of undergraduate programs at the Kogod School of Business at Washington D.C.’s American University, says her school recently implemented its first interdisciplinary degree in business administration and language and culture studies in response to demand from employers looking for students with both business and language expertise.
“There are many organizations where being able to communicate in a second language is very important,” she says, adding that this degree will help make students distinguished candidates for such positions. “It definitely makes them more appealing to the global market.”