According to a report published by the British Chamber of Commerce last year, 96% of English exporters had no foreign language skills relative to the markets they serve — and the largest language deficits existed within the fastest growing global markets.
Disconcertingly, over 75% of respondents to their survey believed they’d missed out on or lost business opportunities because of their inability to speak in more than one tongue.
But companies which invest in foreign language skills are thriving. Last year’s report posited that the ratio of export to sales among businesses placing a premium on multilingualism had increased by 37%.
Conversant with the fact that foreign language skills are key to growth, eagle-eyed employers search high and low for professionals who can do business in more than one language. Finding them, on the other hand, isn’t always easy.
Prior to its closure, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) reported in 2014 that of the reasons employers gave for struggling to fill vacancies, 17% blamed a shortage of language skills.
In their search to find candidates with the right language skills, UK employers often turn to the international job market. But businesses will welcome with open arms multilingual professionals from wherever they come and whatever their nationality.
When a candidate can communicate in more than one language, it makes a huge impression on recruiters and employers.
Here, then, are three major reasons why a candidate’s foreign language skills could be the difference between them being shortlisted for interview and falling at the first hurdle:
The marketability of multilingualism
Competition is rife in today’s jobs market. Depending on their size and reputation, some employers can receive thousands of applications for a single vacancy. As a result, recruiters can spend hours, sometimes even days, sifting through the deluge of responses.
One sure-fire way an applicant can shake their would-be employers from their resume-induced boredom would be to proclaim their multilingualism. Traits such as work ethic and dedication, with which foreign language skills are synonymous, are often hugely desirable among both domestic and international businesses.
An international appeal
In a world where business is becoming increasingly globalised, companies with a more international mindset are always on the lookout for talented multilinguals. Unlike applicants with only one language to their names, candidates with foreign language skills are best placed to build rapport with overseas clients and customers.
The virtue of versatility and foreign language skills
Even though talented communicators are valued highly, employees who can converse effectively in more than one language will be worth their weight in gold.
The possibilities which come with having a multilingual workforce are endless. Professionals with foreign language skills can adapt to foreign countries and cultures in a way which is ideal for businesses who operate internationally.
Once relocated overseas on assignment, monoglots can sometimes struggle to connect with their new colleagues. Integrating into their adopted communities can prove almost impossible without the language skills which all good glossophiles and multilingual professionals possess.
For a free discussion of your foreign language training requirements please contact us on +44 (0)118 934 6000 or fill in our contact form.