From the time you were in high school, for some even grade school, people have told you that learning a second language is extremely valuable. You may have taken classes in grade school to start learning, and if not it’s very likely you took those classes in high school. For me, it was required and at the time I couldn’t really understand why others thought it was so important. I went on to college and continued my studies but eventually fell off the bandwagon. It was difficult to practice speaking in another language because my everyday life consisted of English. However now that I am in the workforce I have quickly realized how being bilingual easily makes you a more marketable candidate.
When Spanish is the second most popular language in our country, it pays to know how to speak it- literally. It’s a fact that bilingual employees earn more than workers that only speak English. For instance, government workers in California that are bilingual earn $.58 more an hour than those that don’t. On average, the pay difference between those that are bilingual and those that aren’t is between 5 and 20 percent, with bilingual employees earning more. Why do bilingual workers get paid more? Because if you can speak another language, then you can reach out to many more markets and speak with more customers. Even if you aren’t working in a position that demands knowledge of another language you can negotiate a higher salary since you have advanced skills. As our country continues to grow and change, bilingual speakers are more in demand than they were before.
In fact, a study mentioned in AOL showed that more than 6,000 job postings require their candidates to be bilingual. It may be very difficult to find a job in these times, but anything that can set you above the competition and make you more marketable than the next candidate is beneficial. If you are bilingual and companies have a job post where they prefer their candidate to be bilingual but don’t require it, you already have a leg-up on the competition.
As if that wasn’t beneficial enough, when companies have to downsize and let a chunk of their employees go, they must look at how valuable each employee is. It’s likely that the employee with more skills and assets will be kept on. Employees that are bilingual have more flexibility than those that are not. If they decide to try and expand their market to make more money, they can easily use you to help. If they need to split off and send some of their workers to their other locations overseas, they can send you and won’t have to find someone new.
On top of that, most business executives are bilingual. In fact, two-thirds of them are. With that being the case, if you are bilingual you have a better chance at being promoted than the employee that isn’t bilingual. If there is anything you can do to increase your chances of being promoted or hired, why not do it? Especially in this market you need to constantly be on your toes and making sure you are putting the best you forward. If learning another language and being bilingual can do that, why not strive for it?