“We expect our new employee in Sales International Monitoring to be fluent in written and spoken English and French."
Such and similar job advertisements have already become part of everyday life. Foreign language skills as indispensable competence - are you already one of the most attractive employees on the labor market?
Due to increasing globalization, foreign languages are becoming increasingly important in business. How else should one be able to communicate with customers from all over the world?
Digitization also requires at least a basic understanding of the English language. The use of computer programs, machine operation in the company or software programming: None of this would be conceivable without language skills.
But when exactly is it worth learning a second or even a third language? Read more about it in our blog article. You will also find out in which professional situations foreign languages have become indispensable.
Is there any need at all for foreign languages in your job?
Unfortunately, this question cannot be answered with a clear yes or no.
It always depends on various factors: What line of work are you in? Are foreign language skills desired? Is your company internationally active and does it have customers in certain countries?
What is certain, however, is that foreign languages are becoming increasingly important in highly qualified jobs. English has become an indispensable part of management - and other foreign languages are also becoming increasingly important there.
Of course it is not important for every profession to speak several languages. As a bakery salesperson or mathematics teacher, you may rarely be confronted with foreign languages.
When in doubt, however, it is always a good decision to constantly improve your English instead of investing in a language that may never be required in the company.
Why several foreign languages at work?
As a result of advancing globalization, foreign languages have become more important not only privately, for example when travelling, but also in companies.
Internationally operating companies with contacts to China or France, for example, need employees who speak these languages. The fact that employees can communicate with customers or partners in their national language is a sign of interest and respect for each other.
Companies with multilingual employees are also more competitive. For example, if a company receives an inquiry from Spain, it is advantageous if the person who processes the inquiry speaks Spanish and does not first have to hire a translator. This way, the request can be processed directly. Otherwise the customer has to wait too long. By this time, he or she may have already contacted a new company that could help him directly.
If you speak a foreign language fluently, you may have dealt with the corresponding culture. A stay abroad also brings cultural competence. Etiquette, customs and traditions differ from culture to culture and it is an advantage to know them.
Because anyone who knows the cultural differences also knows how to deal with foreign employees or partners, for example from China. Otherwise, misunderstandings arise all too quickly during greetings or negotiations. These can be easily avoided through cultural knowledge.
On the other hand, employees who master the foreign language and manners earn respect and recognition. After all, in an internationally operating company not only money counts, but also appearance and social skills.
In which professions are foreign languages worthwhile?
It has been a long time since language skills were only required of translators, interpreters or foreign language teachers.
Nowadays it is perfectly normal for employees in management, the media or the IT industry to have a command of a second language. A second language learned in high school is insufficient for this - technical terms that are important for the respective professions are also needed.
But Europeans are discovering that not only English is important. It's more of a prerequisite. Other foreign languages are just as important, depending on the profession.
Which language is the most important in the profession?
Chinese companies are becoming increasingly important in the labor market. Trade relations with China are becoming more frequent and it can be an advantage to learn Chinese. You can start with Linguajet's language learning app.
The urgency of learning a language as difficult as Chinese also depends on whether the language is really used in everyday working life. For frequent business trips to China it is of course of great advantage to be able to speak Chinese.
European languages on the labor market
Although Chinese is likely to overtake some European languages in the future, French remains important because of its proximity to France and Belgium, for example.
Spanish, which is spoken not only in Europe but also predominantly in Central and South America, also remains important. The faster the economy in the respective countries grows, the more these language skills are in demand on the labor market in English-speaking countries.
Russian as an Eastern European language should not be underestimated when it comes to useful professional language skills. Applicants who speak Russian will continue to benefit from their knowledge.
How do foreign languages help your career?
English is today often listed as a prerequisite in job advertisements in Europe.
Other foreign languages can then make an applicant particularly attractive to employers. It is not only about the fact that the potential employee can communicate with international customers and foreign employees!
Because mastering a foreign language shows cosmopolitanism and tolerance. People who are interested in languages are also often interested in foreign countries and foreign people. Sometimes they can approach others even better and are therefore a benefit for the company.
The cultural competence mentioned above also brings advantages: If the employer has partners in China or Japan, it is advantageous if employees know and can use their manners. Assignments to business trips abroad are also no problem if an applicant can already prove his or her knowledge of the national language.
If there are several applicants, language skills can make the difference for the employer. But beware: Professional competence is just as important! Also, nothing may be embellished when the foreign languages are indicated in the application: Knowledge is often tested in job interviews.
The place of work decides which languages are important
If you are not afraid to go to a foreign country for your work, you should be aware in advance that there may be several national languages in one country that you should speak.
An example of this is Switzerland, where French, Italian and Rhaetoromanic are spoken addition to German . Depending on the field of work, Portuguese, Slavic languages or even Vietnamese are also in demand. This can be the case, for example, in the coordination and management of construction workers.
In Switzerland, it is a major advantage to speak several of the national languages. Depending on the language, it is even possible to earn more: Employees from the French-speaking part of Switzerland, for example, earn more money if they also speak German and Italian. People who speak all national languages well are rare and therefore in great demand on the Swiss labor market.
Companies may support your language learning
But please don't worry if you're not a language genius at work. Companies that want to send their employees abroad or improve the language skills of their employees sometimes offer courses in the desired language.
But you can also learn languages privately before applying as well as learning within your profession. Linguajet, for example, makes this possible. You can even learn a language on the side.
By learning a language, you also promote cultural understanding, which is highly valued by employers. Nothing is standing in the way of language learning!
Successful with foreign languages
You have learned that today not only is strong professional competence required when looking for new employees, but also foreign language skills.
The requirements vary, of course, depending on the field of work. But the advantages are quite obvious: With more than one foreign language in your luggage, you are an asset to your potential employer.
Because you not only prove that you can communicate with employees, customers or business partners from different countries without any problem! They even increase the international competitiveness of your company. Cultural competence and cosmopolitanism are just a few of the many advantages for multilingual employees.
Foreign languages are good for your career, because those who speak more than "just" English stand out from other applicants. If two applicants have the same professional skills, language skills can be the icing on the cake that convinces employers.
To learn the languages that will be important in the future, such as Chinese, French, Spanish, Russian or Italian, you do not have to attend long evening courses after a stressful day at work. With Linguajet you learn the important languages required in your profession simply and stress-free. You can even improv your skills in whatever foreign language you may already speak. Join in and increase your attractiveness on the job market!
Make your language dream come true!
Learning languages has never been easier. Start now and see for yourself.