In 2017 the New American Economy (NAE) released a report on the growing demand for bilingual talent in major United States industries. The research looks at online job posting data acquired by Burning Glass Technologies, one of the leading labor market analytics firm that reviews over 35,000 job boards daily.
The report shows that employers increasingly desire workers who speak two or more languages, particularly in industries that provide services involving a high degree of human interaction. Based on the share of online job listings posted in 2015; H&R Block, Humana and Bank of America, were among the top businesses seeking bilingual workers.
“In today’s global economy, businesses require employees who can serve customers in a variety of languages,” said John Feinblatt, chairman of New American Economy. “This research highlights the growing need to attract and promote a bilingual workforce among both foreign- and U.S.-born talent.”
Coinciding with the report release, a diverse group of business, education, government and nonprofit partners have launched Lead with Languages, a multi-year campaign aimed at reversing the nation’s language skills gap and making language learning a national priority. The campaign seeks to build awareness about the growing importance of language skills to a wide array of careers – and to our nation’s economy, national security and international standing – with the ultimate goal of supporting a new generation of Americans equipped to compete and succeed in this growing global economy.
Employers are increasingly looking for workers who can speak Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic. Employers posted more than three times more jobs for Chinese speakers in 2015 than they had just five years earlier. During the same time period, the number of U.S. job ads listing Spanish or Arabic as a desired skill increased by roughly 150 percent.
In the past, many businesses depended on the help of translators; however, many have found that investing in a dedicated service has led to stronger relationships with clients. It is not just about the ease of communication, either: knowing a language also means understanding a culture.