LANGUAGE SKILLS LINKED TO CAREER SUCCESS LATER IN LIFE.
The first five years of life are critical to learning and development. Your child’s brain develops faster than at any other time in their life. This is when the foundations for learning, health and behaviour throughout life are laid down. It should be no surprise then to hear that there has been a significant increase in the introduction of languages in the early learning years, with studies revealing that the best time to learn a language is before the age of 7.
Not only does the introduction of languages benefit a child’s development significantly, but it might also determine their level of career success later in life. In the US, for example, demand for bilingual employees has more than doubled between 2010 and 2015.
Research reveals that there is a growing demand for bilingual talent in major industries in the United States. The report shows that employers increasingly desire workers who speak multiple languages, particularly in industries that provide services involving a high degree of human interaction. Bank of America, H&R Block, and Humana were among the top firms seeking bilingual workers, based on the share of online job listings posted in 2015.
The report, Not Lost in Translation: The Growing Importance of Foreign Language Skills in the U.S. Job Market, finds:
- Over the past five years, demand for bilingual workers in the United States more than doubled. In 2010, there were roughly 240,000 job postings aimed at bilingual workers; by 2015, that figure had ballooned to approximately 630,000.
- Employers seek bilingual workers for both low- and high-skilled positions. In 2015, 60 percent of the jobs with the highest demand for bilingual workers were open to individuals with less than a bachelor’s degree. Meanwhile, the fastest growth in bilingual listings from 2010 to 2015 was for so-called “high prestige” jobs, a category including financial managers, editors, and industrial engineers.
- Employers are increasingly looking for workers who can speak Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic. Employers posted more than three times more jobs for Chinese speakers in 2015 than they had just five years earlier. During the same time period, the number of U.S. job ads listing Spanish or Arabic as a desired skill increased by roughly 150 percent.
- Some states have particularly high demand for bilingual workers. Despite being home to 12.4 percent of the overall U.S. working-age population, California accounted for 19.4 percent of all job ads seeking bilingual workers. Arizona displayed similar trends—accounting for just 2 percent of working-age adults, but 4 percent of bilingual job listings. Seven states—including Colorado, Oregon, and Texas—had considerably higher demand for bilingual speakers that would be expected based on their share of the working-age population overall.
- Some employers have particularly strong demand for bilingual workers. More than a third of the positions advertised by Bank of America in 2015 was for bilingual workers. At the health insurer Humana, meanwhile, almost one in four online posts asked for such skills—including almost 40 percent of the company’s listings for registered nurses.
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