Speaking More than One Language Gets You The Job
On the topic of language acquisition, many American adults recall the years they spent in high school, pouring over grammar books and vocabulary lists, only to barely be able to form a sentence in the language they were supposed to be learning. Due to struggles in school, many resign to the belief that they are incapable of learning a new language. However, what if you are more than capable of speaking more than one language, and the way you were taught is what hindered you – not your own intellect? What if learning a second language not only improves brain function, but gives you a competitive (and lucrative) advantage in the job market?
According to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), knowing a second language can increase your value by over $128,000 over the span of 40 years. Albert Saiz, an economist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), stated that college graduates who speak two languages make approximately 2% more money than those who speak one. Furthermore, Salary.com found that jobs paid bilingual employees 5% – 20% more than their monolingual counterparts.These numbers should not surprise you. The assets that bilingual individuals bring to a company are numerous, and more than enough employers are willing to compensate these individuals for their skill.
Companies wish to hire bilingual individuals because they know that dismantling language barriers will reach more customers and make the company more money. Additionally, those who speak more than one language are better at conflict resolution, have higher cognitive ability, an improved ability to multitask and stronger concentration levels. These are all valuable attributes that employers look for during the hiring process.
It is widely believed that once you grow past a certain age, foreign language skills are more difficult to exercise. However, more and more researchers dispute this claim and insist that language acquisition is beneficial – and possible – at any stage in life. Learning a new language doesn’t have to be as hard as you may think. All one needs to become fluent in another language is the desire and the discipline to practice and learn.
There are countless resources online available to those who wish to speak, read, and write in more than one language. Furthermore, there may be groups in your community that are dedicated to meeting up at a designated time and place to practice your target language. Achieving fluency in a foreign language doesn’t have to be scary or impossible. In fact, exercising the ability to switch back and forth between two or more languages is one of the most fun and rewarding experiences one can bestow upon themselves. Not to mention, the career opportunities that multilingualism opens up have the potential to make a lifelong impact. So step out of your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and learn as much as you can. It could change your life. ¡Buena suerte!