June 11 2010 - Language skills definitely improve chances of employment according to a survey by specialist
language recruiter, Euro London Appointments. Of 228 employers who responded, 86 per cent agreed that languages were an important skill set.
One learning and development manager said:
"Languages are the key to flexibility within a global workplace. They have given me the flexibility to manage HR functions across
western Europe and train people almost globally. I speak Spanish and French which has given me the flexibility to work in South America, the
West Indies and Africa."
An employee development manager commented:
"Organizations are finding it necessary to provide information, services and products in two or even three languages in order
to reach increasingly important customer demographics. These trends are not going to reverse and xenophobes will find themselves more isolated and
relegated to the lower rungs of the employment ladder."
The study found that three-quarters of respondents (74 per cent) identified 'traditional' western European languages (French,
German, Spanish and Italian) as the most useful with over one-third (37 per cent) expressing the view that more 'exotic' languages such as
Mandarin and Arabic would be increasingly in demand, especially in specialist areas such as the financial services sector.
The survey found other industry-specific and geographic variations. Respondents from organizations with headquarters in the U.S.
identified Spanish and French as the most useful. Companies focusing on imports and exports highlighted the relevance of Chinese languages. Urdu,
Filipino and Russian were seen as useful in shipping. Knowledge of Norwegian and Arabic was cited as helpful within the oil and gas sector.
Steve Shacklock, managing director of Euro London Appointments concluded:
"While the recession may be ebbing away and organizations are scaling up their hiring activity, it is still a competitive market
out there. Being able to speak another language in what is now a truly global marketplace can be a key differentiator when it comes to employability."