Generally there is some wisdom that heralds the benefit of speaking a second language, such as “it will help people better understand and appreciate other cultures and their people”, but when businesses are making their hiring decisions, they want to know whether there will be any economic gain from hiring a second language speaker.
Language graduates in the UK have the lowest unemployment rate of any discipline other than medicine and law, so the benefits of speaking a second language for individuals is clear, but what advantages can companies across the UK expect from a bilingual employee?
1. Help entering new markets
Bilingual employees are an incredibly valuable resource when it comes to entering new markets. A Spanish speaker with English as a second language, or vice versa, can help you unlock a huge number of potential markets around the world.
Those who have grown up speaking two or more languages understand how difficult communication between two different cultures can be. Generating consumer-facing content is essential when entering new markets, and bilingual employees can be extremely helpful when creating geotargeted posts.
2. Localisation becomes a breeze
The way a company’s website, blog and social media are localised for individual regions is central to the success of any overseas expansion effort. Localisation allows business to translate long form content, such as detailed guides or webpages, into different languages while keeping regional preferences and buying behaviours very much in mind.
A bilingual employee can also work with website developers and the online marketing team to develop a regional search engine optimisation (SEO) plan that helps the website rank for internet searches conducted in the target market.
3. Reduced relocation costs
A study of a number of American firms by the Employee Relocation Council found that large companies were spending an average of $1 million simply to replace employees who could not acclimatise to overseas assignments. 58 percent of employees who returned to the US said they had difficulty adjusting to the culture and the language of the new country.
4. A second pair of eyes
If your business is expanding into overseas markets, having a bilingual speaker on your staff could be hugely important when it comes to reviewing legal documents, contracts or packaging produced by clients and suppliers.
5. Bilinguals are better multitaskers
Understanding the intricacies of two different languages has been proven to increase an individual’s ability to multitask. People who speak more than one language find it much easier to switch between two tasks than those who only speak one. As bilinguals have two set of language rules in mind, their brains are wired to switch back and forth between them. This improves their ability to carry out more than one task at any one time.
How can we help?
If you’re sold on the superhuman powers of a second language speaker, we can help you find the perfect bilingual employee for your business. Take a look at our clients’ page to see how we can help you.