Can language skills improve my job prospects?
Language skills can be required at all levels in the workforce. According to the latest National Employer Skills survey, 27% of vacancies in administrative and clerical roles went unfilled due to shortages of foreign language skills.
Languages are a differentiator – Almost half of UK employers today turn to the international job market to find the right candidate. Knowing a language can have a decisive impact when you compete with prospects from all over the world. This poses the next question: Which language to choose to enhance your career?
According to the latest CBI report, languages that are most in demand among employers are German (50%) and French (49%), followed by Spanish (37%). Germany and France are the most important export markets for the UK, and thus, employees who speak the language will have an advantage.
Booming markets – Latin America is gaining in importance too, thanks to big investments ahead of the major sports events coming up in Brazil. Thus, learning Spanish and Portuguese is a benefit. China is expected to be the largest economy in the world by 2016, according to the latest OECD report. This means that there will be an increasing need for a general understanding of the Chinese language and culture. Keep in mind that it is not about fluency in Chinese. Even basic conversational skills can help immerse you in the local culture. And don't be afraid to make mistakes - everyone appreciates someone making the effort to speak to them in their own language.
Here are three essential tips for all job candidates who want to get to grips with a new language:
- Do your research
Learn about the economic setting of the sector you want to gain work experience in. If you want to work in the automobile industry, Mandarin or Spanish will be a benefit. However, if you want to work in food and beverages, you might be better advised picking up a language like Italian or French to understand specific, sector-relevant language terms quickly. Secondly, read daily newspapers - perhaps even in the language you are learning - to understand economic trends and use that information to understand future demands in languages.
- Choose the right method
Overall it's not as much the means by which you learn a language - in country, in class, on CD or online - as the method you choose that determines whether we're successful in learning a new language. It's always helpful in any learning environment, whether it's classroom-based or technology-based, to incorporate learning strategies that allow you complete immersion - without any grammar or translation support from your native language. You will develop all key skills with a strong emphasis on developing communicative skills. You also want a method that fits with your busy lifestyle. Language-learning apps for your tablet and smart phone are a good solution for learning whenever and wherever you go.
- Get practical training
Living and working abroad will help you better understand the language and culture, and it can generate insights into local customs. Besides speaking the local language, you will improve your communication skills. You may learn perfect exam language in the UK, but it's lacking in how to address real-life issues. That's the sort of practical training you can get by immersing yourself in the language abroad.
Basic communication skills in a new language are very useful and rewarding. Even the simplest language structures are helpful, and having the opportunity to use them - and succeeding - encourages you to keep learning!
Want to be getting closer to your language goals? This will be made easier if you use a method that is flexible and easy to access. Try a free demo today!
For over 20 years, Rosetta Stone has taught millions of people to learn a new language the natural way. Available in over 20 languages and used by schools, organisations and individuals in over 150 countries worldwide, Rosetta Stone has perfected an approach that closely replicates how you learnt your first language as a child - by connecting words, sounds and images to their meanings.