Three career benefits of being multilingual

In the age of globalization when numerous companies are moving into international markets, the ability to speak more than one language has become a valuable asset in the workplace. According to the Department of Labor, fluency in a foreign language was considered by employers in 2013 as the hottest skill for college graduates. Further, over 50% of U.K. companies take languages into account when recruiting candidates.

Here’s three reasons multilingual employees can gain the upper hand in their professional lives.

1. Improved employability

The value of multilingualism has significantly increased as global citizens migrate and businesses expand. According to a report by the Northern Illinois University, half of all employers in northern Illinois plan to hire more bilingual or multilingual college graduates within the next five years.

In today’s competitive job market, employees who know more than one language are also more marketable and highly sought after in eight main industries: healthcare, law, education, customer service, finance, social services, hospitality and communication.

Having a more diverse skill set that includes proficient language skills gives candidates a professional advantage by being able to help the company tap into new markets and acquire clients, share relevant cultural knowledge that could aid the business, and eventually, boost revenue.

2. Employment with less borders

The digital era and advancements in technology have opened doors to greater employment and business opportunities, regardless of geographical location. International migration and overseas employment are also spearheading economies and motivating companies to build a more diverse workforce.

A popular recruitment site, Monster Canada, emphasizes the changing needs and requirements of employers looking for workers—and the importance of the ability to conduct business in more than one language—as geographic location becomes less and less relevant.

The number of location-independent individuals (digital nomads) is dramatically increasing around the world, and online job portals have a high demand for freelancers with proficient skills in writing, editing and translation. In the U.S. alone, translators and interpreters were two of the 15 fastest growing occupations in 2013. At Gengo, translators in over 60 language pairs can access jobs online, so the more languages you speak, the greater your opportunities.

3. Better business relationships

Excellent social skills, complemented by the ability to communicate in more than one language, are beneficial for customer and client relations. Aside from business know-how, being multilingual also helps understanding of foreign cultures, markets and workforces on a deeper, more personal level. Proficiency in a second language can give you the ability to listen actively, pay attention to nonverbal cues, and understand cultural references and nuances, too.

Through meaningful interactions with people of different nationalities and cultures, you can build deeper relationships with clients and be an integral part of your company’s business expansion.

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Jenie Gabriel

The author

Jenie Gabriel

Jenie creates and coordinates content for Gengo's marketing team. Originally from the Philippines, she was an advertising creative in Singapore before moving to Tokyo. In her spare time, you’ll find her wandering around the city or planning her next escapade.

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