Foreign Language Proficiency and Why Employers Deem It Important
According to recent statistics, foreign language proficiency is becoming an essential credential in the workplace, especially in the US. The survey showed that 90 percent of employers report a preference for employees with foreign language skills. As employers are starting to see the importance of foreign language proficiency, there’s a possibility that the trend will grow in the years to come. To further understand, here are the notable details from the report:
Sectors that Expect an Increase in Demand for Foreign Language Skills
Among the many sectors of the economy, here are some that expect an increase in demand for foreign-language proficient employees:
- Healthcare and social assistance sector with a 64 percent increase
- Employers in trade with a 59 percent increase
- Education services with a 57 percent increase
- Technical services with a 55 percent increase
- Construction services with a 54 percent increase
What This Means
While it may seem like good news that employers are widening their grasps when it comes to skill demand, the problem lies in the shortage of skilled individuals, resulting in a skill gap. As such, it can be difficult for individuals looking to enter the workforce if they lack such skills.
On the bright side, bilingual employees can take advantage of their proficiency in another language to better support their employers, and carve a desirable career path for themselves.
Some examples of how foreign language proficiency can be useful include:
- Having an employee communicate with a customer whose native language isn’t English for customer retention
- Having a representative employee for globalization strategies
- Having employees study foreign markets in preparation for market penetration
Solving the Gap
While there are more ways to take advantage of foreign language proficiency, there is still the pressing need to solve the skill gap. How can employers do this?
Employers need to understand that not all aspects of their business should rely on foreign language usage. By doing so, they can prevent unnecessarily demanding foreign language proficient employees and not sleep on other skilled individuals.
It’s also important for employers to consult with a language services provider to help them define their business goals. When they do this, they’ll easily determine whether or not they actually require multilingual services for their development. Additionally, if they verify the need for such skilled individuals, they can invest in professional development programs for current employees to enhance their foreign language skills.
Examples of Programs that Employers Can Invest In
While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all program for achieving development and personal growth among employees, there are several options that include customized group classes, which employers can invest in. These classes aim to train individuals in groups of three to six people to sharpen their foreign language skills. The group-learning format can also help them develop their skills even more as opposed to individual learning. Checking with language professional development trainers will help employers determine what kind of program will suit their employees’ needs.
As foreign language skills gain an increasing demand among employers, it’s important to understand the possible ways on how to close the skill gap. As employers aim to be industry leaders, they have an obligation to emphasize foreign language skills development now more than ever.
Diáfano Learning aims to provide language training to companies to improve their workforce. Get in touch with us today to learn more!