Being fluent in more than one language has not been popular until this past decade. Since the Internet has made our world smaller, more and more businesses have become global and have a lot of branches all over the world. They hire both local and international personals. When the demand of bilingual workers is higher, being able to communicate more than one language has become a better choice for students and adults. Nowadays, there are many skills that can make your job application and resume stand out from other competitions. The ability to communicate a foreign language is very valuable in many career fields, such as teachers, government officials, or social workers. Bilingualism attracts international employers, helps to better understand diverse customers, and has more financial perks.
First of all, being bilingual attracts international employers. Since more and more businesses become interconnected, with companies establishing branches abroad and hiring from local people, it is important that employees in the states increase their marketability. In "Foreign Language Needs of US Businesses", William Kordsmeier, Joe Arn, and Betty Rogers explore how US multicultural firms are in need of foreign language speakers. The authors study which language is the most in demand language by the US businesses, and how the firms prefer an applicant with two or more fluency in foreign languages. They also show that foreign language fluency is the initial reason to hire someone for a multicultural firm (169-71). Similarly, in "Cultural and Linguistic Ambidexterity", Peter Galuszka explains that employers in a global economy look to hire bilingual and multilingual students as soon as they graduate from the University of Texas at El Paso, also known as UTEP. Galuszka shows that UTEP is situated near the US-Mexico border, and it has economic appeal in itself. Plus, the students who attend UTEP are from both the US and Mexico, so most of them speak both English and Spanish (29-31). Both articles foreground the idea of international firms are interested in hiring more bilingual or multilingual candidates.
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To emphasize that more businesses look to hire more bilingual personals, Kordsmeier, Arn, and Rogers cites Inman who states
Proficiency in a foreign language is highly desirable in the marketplace. Whereas many fields seek employees, who possess foreign language proficiency in addition to expertise in the particular disciplines, the field of business places the greatest emphasis on both foreign language capability and knowledge of a specific subject area. (169)
The authors are suggesting that more businesses prefer employees who are able to communicate in another language, in addition to other skills that those employees already possess. Similarly, Galuszka cites Michael Hissam, a Delphi's regional director for communications in Mexico, who says "work starts at 5 a.m. so specialists can be in touch with other Delphi teammates across the world, from Asia to Europe, to the United States" (30). This means that Delphi is an international business and has divisions all over the world. Because of how they have to communicate with every part of the world, they need staff that can at least speak two or more languages. As you can see that both articles emphasize how important it is for a global business to have efficient bilingual or multilingual personals.
Secondly, being bilingual can help the company to better understand the need of diverse customers. If the company is in an area with a diverse population, being bilingual has a big advantage. In "Cultural and Linguistic Ambidexterity," Galuszka states "it might sound like a no-brainer that being bilingual or multilingual helps students planning a career... What's more, being able to go beyond mere language ability and understand cultural distinctions are extra advantages" (29). This shows that not only understanding the language is important, but to have deeply knowledge of the culture of the spoken language is also even more significant. Similarly, in "Fluency in a foreign language can translate into a world of professional possibilities," Sonja Brown Stokely writes about an experience of an African-American man named Edward Harley, who teaches English in Japan. In order for Harley to be able to teach English, he is required to be fluent in Japanese and understand Japanese culture. Harley is currently working in New York City as a copy editor. He handles all clients from Japan for the company and makes sure that everything goes smoothly with no misunderstanding between cultures (126). As you can see that both articles emphasize that bilingual can help the company to better understand the need of diverse customers, it opens the connections between the firm and the customer. Understanding the culture is also a factor of earning customer's loyalty to the business.
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Lastly, bilingualism has more financial perks. As a bilingual employee, you have the benefit of being able to negotiate a higher salary because the business with bilingual staff can also attract more diverse customers. Therefore, the more bilingual acquaintances, the more money you earn. To support this claim, in "Fluency in a foreign language can translate into a world of professional possibilities", Stokely says
In some careers in the US, the ability to speak and write languages such as Spanish, French, or German is looked upon as having a specialized skill. And employers are willing to pay for that skill. For example, in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, California, police officers and fire fighters can make an extra 5% to 10% on their salaries if they are fluent in Spanish (126).
Stokely is suggesting that being fluent in another language can help you earn more in your career. Her article is full of examples of a few people who succeed because of being a bilingual. Another support for the claim is about a sales position, which is also where the second language skills are in high demand. A sales person is able to speak Spanish and he earns from commission. He is the only salesman who can speak Spanish at that company, therefore he handles all the Spanish customers. So, he is the only one that earns the highest commission (128). Similarly, in "rewarding workplace bilingualism", Amado M. Padilla explores the economic gain of being bilingual. He asks a series of questions to different fields of business. The overall result is that bilingual gets paid more than their peers. To support the claim, he writes "A hotel manager or a customer-service representative who knows English and Spanish or English and Korean may look much better at promotion time than one who knows only English" (21). This shows that being bilingual adds a chance to being considered to get promoted and advance further in your career. Both articles foreground the idea that being bilingual has more financial perks and adds a chance to get promoted easily.
In conclusion, being bilingual or multilingual has benefits toward career advancement. It helps your application or resume stand out when you apply for a job at a global company that has many divisions around the world. Being bilingual can also help you reach further for customers in a diverse society, as you understand more of their cultures. This leads to gaining more clients for the company and therefore earning more salaries and promotions toward you.