What are the benefits of being bilingual for your career?

Along with the social, cultural and health benefits of speaking two languages fluently, there are various studies which show that it can be a valuable asset in the workplace too.

The job market is a tough place, and in some industries there can be over 100 applicants for a single job.  So if there is anything which can give your child an edge when they finish school, it’s certainly worth considering.

Who knows what Mia will choose as a career?

It’s a long way off yet, and there are more immediate concerns, such as getting a good night’s sleep!

Nevertheless, here are 5 reasons to encourage your child to become bilingual, and give them a boost in their future career…

1) Beat The Competition In The Job Market

In a globalised world with multinational companies operating in many different countries, having a second language on your CV can make you stand out from the crowd.

Being bilingual can make you appear more versatile, in terms of communicating with colleagues and clients, as well as adapting to live in other countries with different cultures.

You can also be sent to represent your firm in foreign business seminars where knowing another language is essential.

2) Opens Up More Career And Education Opportunities

Another benefit is that it opens up more doors in the world of work. There are a lot of career opportunities where speaking a second language is a real asset.

Think of all the interpretation/translation jobs, careers in travel and tourism, healthcare, the legal profession and business jobs, where companies need an employee to speak a second language and work with different cultures.

Furthermore, fluency in a different language opens you to opportunities to study abroad. Some programs may have certain language requirements so studying that language allows you easier access.

Being bilingual also makes it easy to access information in printed materials or online, which differ from your native language.

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3) Earn More Money

Speaking another language can also help you earn more money in the workplace.

In the US, bilingual speakers earn up about $7,000 a year more than monolingual speakers. This is likely due to supply and demand, as the US doesn’t have many native-born bilingual speakers to choose from.

However, I do wonder if the percentage of bilingual speakers who go to university is higher than monolinguals. That could certainly distort the stats a little as, on average, graduates earn more than those who don’t go to college.

4) Better focused attention and brain power

Having read several articles on bilingualism during Sasha’s pregnancy, one of the most interesting features I came across is the ability not to speak one of the languages at a particular moment.

For example, for a bilingual child to say ‘Merci’ at home, and then ‘Thank you’ to their teacher at school, requires a special ability of task switching, and as such paying greater attention to certain situations.

Furthermore, there are studies which show being bilingual can make your smarter, improving cognitive skills.

When bilingual children eventually transition into the workplace, these attributes can be very useful when performing complex tasks, skills which will be highly valued by any employer.

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5) Better creativity

In addition to focused attention and brain power, bilinguals are more creative. This can be useful for coming with interesting solutions to problems, or ‘thinking outside the box’.

I often wonder if by speaking two languages, you can think differently in certain situations. 

It amazes me sometimes how Russians will have a different view or solution to something, which I would never consider myself!

Makes You More Attractive?

Who doesn’t like an accent?

Ok this extra benefit is a bit tongue in cheek 🙂

In a survey of 3000 people in the UK, it seems being bilingual makes you more attractive. While not related to your career, who knows where you’ll meet that special someone (although many say office romances can be a big mistake!)

The French language is viewed as the sexiest language, and also the sexiest foreign accent to hear English spoken in!

Do you agree with these benefits of being bilingual in the workplace?

I would love to know your thoughts on any of these points. Please leave any comments below on whether you agree or disagree with anything in this blog post.