Speaking more than one language has been proven to confer major gains on brain development. Research has shown that bilingual young adults not only tend to perform better in the job market but are also more likely to show traits such as empathy and problem-solving skills. In recognizing the importance of language, here are five benefits of knowing more than one language in the job market.
1. Grow your network: When you speak more than one language, there is a higher probability of increasing your network. In today’s globalized world with the pivot of certain markets moving towards Asia, having learned an Asian language under your belt can provide a major boost in expanding your network which you can use when looking for opportunities. This can also provide huge benefits when you are looking for opportunities or operating a business, as it can automatically increase the size of your target market in which you can sell your product or services.
2. Marketability Among Employers: In today’s ultra-competitive job market, being bilingual is valuable to most employers because it can separate you from the rest of the applicants. As such, having a diverse skill set will greatly increase your employability. For example, if you come from a technical background and you are the only candidate with language capabilities plus a liberal arts foundation, that will increase your employability significantly. As world markets become more interdependent, this factor will become critical for youths to consider.
3. More Access to Resources: People who can only speak one language are limited to resources in their language, and when especially moving to another country or working ina multinational firm, being bilingual is an important skill set to have. People who can access information, research, read books, and articles in another language are a real asset to companies, and most companies hire applicants based on this very reason.
4. Strengthen your Professional Network with Clients and Colleagues: Learning another language is not an easy task and when your clients find out that you have given the time and effort to learn their native language, they will instantly build a positive connection with you. There is an anecdote of a provider cold calling a client, who is a CFO of Spanish descent. The client started to detect a Spanish accent from the provider during a call, and the conversation quickly transitioned into the full-scale Spanish language. The CFO decided to make a business deal on the spot, buying the service provider mobile voice and data services, entering a 2-year contract with the company. This process would have taken a formal proposal and months of formal negotiations and sales cycles.
5. Bilingualism Increases Capacities for Higher Learning: There have been numerous studies on the effect of bilingualism on the brain, as well as its effect on higher occupational status and earnings in young adults. Furthermore, there is a positive link between bilingualism and intelligence. Researchers have also found that elementary-aged bilingual students outperform monolingual peers on non-verbal problem sets and are more likely to be employed full time, prompting more higher salary.
As more young people are becoming more interested in global affairs, national leaders are becoming increasingly aware of teaching the importance of being able to communicate in more than one language. In the case of Australia, through the New Colombo Plan Scholarship, young academically sound Australians are provided with a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience a new academic adventure abroad giving them more exposure to a new language and culture. As a multicultural and diverse society as vast as Australia, being multilingual is essential for the thriving and sustenance of culture for Australians of both the current and future generations. This is the same for Southeast Asia as a region that is rich in linguistic diversity, learning more than one language is important for regional integration which can contribute to economic growth as well as social and cultural progress.
AASYP’s monthly Language Exchange Programme (LEAP) is an opportunity for young leaders from across ASEAN and Australia to come together once a month to participate in a cross-cultural language exchange in an informal and relaxed setting.
The theme for this month’s LEAP is ‘What’s in a name?’ to be held on Thursday 27th August 7 pm AEST / 4 pm VN. Register at https://bit.ly/aasyp-DE-LEAP3.