Studying a Language at University is the Way to Get Ahead

The massive hike in tuition fees has put British universities under more pressure to add value to the education they provide by enhancing the employment prospects of their students. Learning a second language is a sure fire way to get ahead in the competitive employment market. Most universities have a language centre packed with resources, making this the perfect opportunity to enhance your second language capabilities.

Last year there were 39 applicants for every graduate job. This year top graduate vacancies are at a premium, and with 2:1 degrees being handed out like they’re going out of fashion, it’s hardly surprising so many graduates are throwing themselves into a world of voluntary work and internships to make their application stand out.

But given the current language skills gap, which is causing UK business to miss out on billions of pounds worth of international trade, learning an international language could be the best way to make your graduate job hunt easier and more successful.

What can universities do?

There are plenty of undergraduates studying language courses at university, but these are not the only type of language learners British businesses are interested in. Most in demand are bilingual speakers with core skills in marketing, economics or finance who can also speak a second language on the side.

The trouble is that only 38 percent of Brits speak a foreign language, compared to 56 percent of Europeans. This current dearth of polyglots provides a real opportunity for undergraduates who are willing to go the extra mile and brush up on their language skills in their spare time.

There has also been an increase in the number of universities that are willing to offer optional foreign language modules as part of their main degree. Given the flexible schedules many students enjoy and the abundance of free time, this could be a great way for ambitious students to get a head start on their rivals.

It’s not all about fluency

It’s a common misconception that only fluent foreign language speakers are in demand from UK businesses, but that is not always the case. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has found that 74 percent of employers are looking for applicants with conversational ability rather than fluency.

The truth is that you do not need to be word perfect to give yourself a distinct advantage in the competitive graduate recruitment market. Many employers believe conversational skills can still help to “break the ice, deepen cultural understanding, and open business access to new markets.”

Increasingly, multinational companies are seeing language skills as an added extra when considering applications, with many awarding bonus points to applicants with foreign language skills to their name.

Of course, learning a new language at degree level is hard work, particularly alongside your existing commitments. There are no shortcuts when learning a new language – you get out exactly what you put in, so if you don’t do the drills or put in the practice you simply won’t progress.

However, stick with it and the dedication is likely to impress prospective employers. Employers recognise it takes a lot of discipline to learn a new language, which is a highly valued quality in the workplace.

How can we help?

If you’re a graduate or a prospective employee looking for a second language job on the South Coast, we can help. We work with some of the best employers in the area to bring you exclusive, rewarding and well-paid bilingual jobs. Take a look at our latest multilingual vacancies today and upload your CV.

Multilingualism Matters: How Polyglots Benefit your Business

The message from an Italian-born developmental linguistics professor is clear: “Hire more multilingual employees, because these employees can communicate better, have better inter-cultural sensitivity, and are better at co-operating, negotiating and compromising. But they can also think more efficiently.”

Now that’s certainly a ringing endorsement for multilingualism at work from a recent article in the Financial Times; but are multilingual speakers really such an invaluable asset for UK businesses?

The big multinationals seem to think so…

Recent research into some of the UK’s leading multinational companies has revealed just how important language skills are to their continued operations. The management consultancy McKinsey can boast more than 130 different languages across its workforce, and is even willing to offer bursaries to those who want to learn another language before joining the company.

Unilever, the Dutch-British consumer goods company, estimates that around 80 percent of the group’s senior leaders speak at least two languages. While the financial services company Standard Chartered actively seeks bilinguals for its graduate training scheme.

…But what are the benefits?

The UK’s biggest companies are clearly convinced of the benefits of hiring bilinguals, but there’s also plenty of research that highlights the advantages language learners can bring.

Research has shown that bilinguals have an enhanced awareness of other people’s points of view, which stems from their deeper understanding that other people have a different perspective.

There is also evidence to show that employees with two or more languages are better at concentrating on the specific features of a problem and ignoring any misleading elements. Thy can also switch more seamlessly between tasks.

The multinationals are not so keen to hire bilinguals simply for the cognitive benefits – there are also plenty of practical benefits of appointing foreign language speakers for businesses exporting products and services overseas, making bilinguals a vital asset in global business environments.

The truth about bilingualism

  • Early exposure to two languages does not disadvantage children and can bring benefits. The cognitive benefits last from childhood through to old age.
  • You do not have to speak two languages in a perfectly balanced way to be bilingual. Bilinguals are simply people who know, and frequently use, more than one language.
  • In terms of the cognitive benefits, no language is more or less useful than another. The benefit comes from having the knowledge of more than one language in the brain.
  • The earlier you start, the better it is for developing the cognitive ability; however, the proficiency and the number of languages you learn is more important than the age you start.

Recruiting bilinguals

Clearly, multinationals with bases around the world have an advantage over smaller companies when it comes to the recruitment of bilinguals, but at Linguistica Recruitment, we plan to redress that balance.

We work with small and medium-sized businesses across the South coast, helping them recruit the bilingual employees they need to succeed on the domestic and global stage. To learn more about how we can help your business fill a bilingual skills gap, please get in touch today.

Key Insights into the UK’s Language Jobs Market

UK workers, like their international counterparts, must be increasingly able to work across borders, manage complex international and inter-cultural relationships, and understand global aspects of the world of work. The further up the chain of command you go, the more prevalent this need becomes.

A study for the Council of Industry and Higher Education (CIHE), found that senior managers and CEOs in many FTSE 100 companies are becoming increasingly multilingual. So much so that 45 percent of the UK’s leading companies now have non-British chief executives.

Researchers also noted that the UK’s largest employers are increasingly looking for graduate recruits with at least two foreign languages, along with drive, motivation and a willingness to learn.

The structure of the UK language jobs market

According to the British Academy of Languages, there are five different levels of language job UK employers are currently recruiting for. These fall within three levels of demand, as follows:

Explicit demand

  • Employers are recruiting for specialist linguistic roles e.g. translators, interpreters and foreign language teachers.
  • They are also looking for recruits with foreign language competencies alongside other professional skills e.g. foreign language marketers.

Explicit demand and implicit demand

  • Employers are recruiting for roles where foreign language competency is not essential but is a desirable skill.

Implicit demand

  • Employers want a foreign language competency to be embedded in other desirable skills and attributes
  • Companies are recruiting for roles where there is a future demand for foreign language skills.

Surveys of employers and recruiters have found specialist language roles account for a relatively small section of the language jobs market (approximately 10 percent). The vast number of language jobs are spread across those occupations where a foreign language competency is essential, but must also be supplement by other professional skills.

Which languages are in greatest demand?

Annual CBI Education and Skills surveys, which track employers’ demand for languages, reveal that French, German and Spanish (the languages most commonly taught in UK schools) account for almost half of the total demand. However, Chinese and Polish also feature very strongly.

It is also important to note that the demand for ‘new’ languages like Arabic, Japanese, Russian and Korean is in addition to those more traditional European languages, rather than instead of. This is due to the important role Europe still has to play for the vast majority of UK businesses expanding overseas.

French, German and Spanish are the languages most commonly requested in job advertisements, with French and German often sought in combination.

The research also found that Italian, Scandinavian and Dutch languages feature prominently in UK job advertisements, much more so than Chinese and Polish – despite the fact that these languages are very much in demand. It is thought the high number of Chinese and Polish speakers living in the UK makes it easier for British companies to find these skills amongst their existing workforce.

Are you looking for a foreign language job?

If you are, you’re in the right place. We work with a diverse range of companies to fill foreign language positions across the South Coast. Please upload you CV today and we will be in touch. Once we have all the details we need, we will happily put you forward for any language vacancies that match your linguistic and professional experience.

How to Find Foreign Language Jobs in the UK

Despite the fact that a lack of foreign language skills could be costing the UK economy up to £48 billion each year, many top level candidates are still finding it hard to kick start their linguistic careers.

There are a diverse range of foreign language jobs in the UK. Just a quick look at our jobs page and you’ll see we’re currently looking for a German-speaking sales manager, a Dutch-speaking customer support executive and Swedish-speaking market researchers, so there are plenty of jobs out there, you just need to know where to look…

Specialist language job recruiters

Generalist recruiters tend to shy away from language jobs because they do not always have the skills in-house to accurately test the candidate’s language proficiency. A ‘basic’, ‘intermediate’ and ‘advanced’ tick box simply doesn’t cut it when you’re recruiting for foreign language jobs.

That’s why you’ll usually find the best range of well-paid language jobs at specialist language recruiters like Linguistica Recruitment. All our candidates must complete written and spoken language tests to ensure the highest level of candidates for our clients, and the right type of job for you.

Picking the right role

The current skills shortage in the UK means  there are a whole host of positions available for foreign language speakers with the right level of experience. As with any job search, it’s essential you not only have the necessary language skills, but also the experience and core competencies to fill the role. Whilst this might seem obvious, it’s amazing how many people apply for a foreign language job, such as a German Marketing Manager, without having any previous experience in marketing.

Of course, you should also make sure your language skills meet the requirements of the job. If you have an intermediate ability in French, you would not be suitable for a role as an English to French translator or interpreter. As a general rule, if you couldn’t handle a face-to-face interview for the job in the target language, you probably shouldn’t apply.

Employers looking to fill a foreign language position will generally require a fluency in that language. Millions of Brits have GCSEs or A Levels in a European language, but that level of proficiency is not sufficient for a foreign language job.

Quick tips for conducting your foreign language job search

Here are six quick tips to help in your foreign language job search:

  • Make sure you upload your CV to Linguistica Recruitment and other specialist language recruitment agencies
  • Take a look at the language job boards online
  • Conduct an online search for jobs in your chosen language, skill type and location. For example, enter the search term: ‘French speaking finance workers in London’
  • Use social media to find suitable language roles (LinkedIn and Twitter are probably your best bet)
  • Use Google to search for companies with an international presence that you’d like to work for. Then take a look at the careers section on their website for details of their current vacancies.

Still struggling to find foreign language jobs in the UK? Just get in touch with the friendly team at Linguistica Recruitment who will be more than happy to help.

The Benefits of Hiring Bilingual Speakers for your Business

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.

Does it Really Pay to Speak More than One Language?

The simple answer to that question is yes, it sure does, and in more ways than one. As a specialist language recruiter, we’re often asked just how beneficial it is to speak another language, not just in terms of an individual’s job prospects, but also in their everyday lives.

We currently have a wide range of language jobs available all across the South Coast, from an Italian business information manager position in Guildford, Surrey; to German, Swedish and Norwegian market research roles in Aldershot, Hampshire; and a number of Polish speaking customer service jobs in Southampton. Every time we seek a top level candidate to fill these roles we are reminded just how much it pays to speak another language.

Of course, we’re quite likely to be biased in this area given our line of work, but there’s plenty of research out there which corroborates our views.

You can earn more money…

While earning as much money as you possibly can is not the priority for every language job seeker, it’s a bonus to be paid well for doing a job you love. A survey of 2,700 UK employers has found that polyglots – people who speak more than one language – earn more money, have a wider choice of work, and perhaps more importantly, are more likely to be more successful with the opposite sex!

The survey shows that linguists can expect to earn an additional £3,000 a year for their additional language, which equates to a total of £145,000 over their working lives. Employers revealed they are prepared to pay workers earning the national average of £25,818 as much as 12 percent if they have a second language.

For higher earners, the findings are even more startling. Those earning £45,000 a year could see a potential boost of 20 percent, the equivalent of £9,000 a year or £423,000 over a lifetime if they are fluent in sought after languages like French, German, Spanish and Italian.

… And enjoy a better quality of life

Of course, it’s always nice when you’re on holiday to order that café au lait in the native language and the ability to do so is always very much appreciated by the locals. However, a number of research projects conducted over the years have also shed light on a range of other benefits that being bilingual can bring.

  • Adults who are bilingual from a young age tend to be more cognitively flexible, and more able to adapt to changing circumstances. They are also usually able to complete set tasks more quickly than those with only one language.
  • Bilingual children generally find problem-solving and switching from one task to another easier than their monolingual counterparts.
  • Learning another language later on in life gives the brain a boost as you enter into old age. The research showed improved general intelligence and reading skills of language learners who were well into their seventies.

It’s never too late to become a language learner

Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” The truth is it’s never too late to learn another language, whether you’re a polygot looking to take the next step on your linguistic career, or simply someone who wants to learn another language purely for pleasure.

For more information about any of the jobs listed above, please take a look at our latest language vacancies, or learn a little more about the process we go through when selecting our candidates.

Ten Top CV Writing Tips for Language Job Searchers

In most cases, your CV is a recruiter’s first introduction to you and your skill set, so it’s ESSENTIAL you get it right. At Linguistica Recruitment, a CV is always our first point of reference for screening potential candidates. Of course, top notch language skills are vital for any professional linguist, but unless the CV is on point, potential recruits will not progress as far as our written and spoken language tests and will miss out on an opportunity to show us what they can really do!

So, to help you grab the attention of a potential employer and give yourself the very best chance of landing that language job, here are a few top CV writing tips.

1. Layout and design

Recruiters can receive hundreds of CVs for linguistic positions, so it’s important the layout of your CV makes it easy to scan as they’re sifting through. A simple, professional design is the way to go for corporate jobs while positions in the creative industries tend to allow a little more poetic licence. An absolute must, however, is to make sure every section of your CV has a clear heading, in a readable font, so a recruiter can easily navigate your skills, education and experience.

2. Employment history

Past employment is a crucial section of your CV as it allows the recruiter to see how suitable you are for the role you are applying for. For competitive roles, past experience in a similar role can determine whether your CV ends up on the ‘yes’ or the ‘no’ pile. If you’re at the start of your linguistic career, consider internships of volunteering in linguistic roles that allow you to develop your skills in a professional environment.

3. Education

Whilst your education is important, for many employers, it is the attitude of the individual that carries the most weight. Of course, having the necessary language skills is a must, but 9 out of 10 employers will hire a hard working, positive individual without the first class honours degree over a pessimistic, unenthusiastic individual with a glittering academic record.

4. Skills

Writing your CV isn’t the most fun you’re going to have on a Friday night – that’s a fact,  but when it comes to landing that language job, it’s imperative you take the time to tailor your skills section to meet the description of each and every job. Making sure your skills match the requirements of the job you’re applying for is the easiest way to make your CV stand out.

5. Spelling and grammar

As a professional linguist, you’re meant to be proficient in two or more languages. The spelling and grammar on your CV is your chance to show your mastery of the English language. Even if your first language is French, German or Spanish, the ability to communicate clearly and concisely in English is key.

6. Photographs

In many European countries, it is the norm to enclose a photograph of yourself when applying for a job. In the UK, that’s not the case, so you can save that £4 you would have spent in the photo booth for a spot of lunch instead!

7. Length

Generally speaking, you should try to keep your CV to no more than two pages in length. That should give you more than enough room to show how your skills, education and experience relate to the role in question.

8. Include references

Enhance your credibility and reassure the recruiter by including references at the bottom of your CV, or by simply stating that ‘references are available on request’.

9. Proofread it carefully

Even the most careful writer can make mistakes when typing their CV. A spell check will identify some of your mistakes, but not all. Often the most telling mistakes are those errors a spell check does not pick up.

10. Send it to us!

Once you’ve followed this ten point guide and created a CV you can be proud of, send it to us here at Linguistica Recruitment. Check out our latest language job vacancies, click ‘apply now’ and we will help you take the next step in your linguistic career.

Five of the Best Language Careers for Professional Linguists

When you think about the type of language careers open to professional linguists, you’ll consider the obvious positions like interpreter, translator, foreign language teacher, or even the head of a translation company. However, the reality is that there are far more options out there than language lovers might first think.

These days, talented linguists have an extremely diverse range of potential careers to choose from. Globalisation and the emerging markets have made linguists a must-have for companies looking to build links and expand overseas. This opens up myriad job opportunities in advertising, sales, management, finance and investment. Language jobs also crop up in the Foreign Office and elsewhere in the civil service, in journalism, and in international charities, so there’s no shortage of opportunities for someone with a linguistic skill set.

Let’s take a look at five potential language careers for professional linguists to help you find a position that’s well suited to your aptitudes and interests…

1. Interpreter

If you are an exceptional linguist with the ability to think on your feet then the role of an interpreter could be for you. Interpreters convert speech from one language to another and are commonly used at international conferences and business meetings.

There are many potential employers of interpreters, such as the European Commission, United Nations, the civil service and private agencies.

2. Translator

If you enjoy working alone, have an eye for detail and write well, a career as a translator could be for you. The job of a translator is to convert scientific, technical, commercial or literary texts to another language. European languages are currently in high demand, with many large-scale international companies frequently on the lookout for in-house translators to help them communicate with clients and customers.

Prospective employers include charities, government, international businesses and freelance opportunities through translation agencies.

3. The travel industry

More often than not, those with a passion for languages also love to travel, so a job in the travel industry could be a perfect fit for those with a head for business and a sense of adventure. There are a wide range of roles in the travel industry for those with a second language, from sales and marketing to hospitality and tour guiding.

Employers include travel agencies, booking websites, tour operators and more.

4. Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)

The Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, is an intelligent and security organisation based in Cheltenham. Although working for the secret services might not be everyone, there are some excellent positions on offer for the right applicants.

GCHQ needs to know what is going on in other countries in order to protect our interests. A linguist is often the first person at GCHQ to discover something of importance. They then have to compile a report on the information, which requires intelligence and a well-trained mind. Of 4,500 people at GCHQ, roughly 250 are linguists.

5. Secondary school teacher

In the UK, we are currently crying out for hard working modern language teachers. If you are a qualified linguist with an interest in teaching, postgraduate grants of up to £25,000 are available to train as a secondary school teacher. Secondary schools in the state and independent sector are constantly on the lookout for qualified language teachers with a sense of vocation. If that sounds like you, you might just have found your next language career.

For more information about the language careers on offer at Linguistica Recruitment please take a look at our jobs page. If you see anything you like the look, please click the ‘apply for this position’ button to upload your CV. Once received, a member of the HR team will be in touch to discuss your suitability for the role.

The UK’s Demand for Talented Linguists is on the Rise

English might be the established language of international business, but recent research, which reveals that two-thirds of UK businesses are looking to recruit staff with foreign language skills, shows all that is set to change.

The rise of emerging markets in Asia and Latin America is threatening to stifle the UK economy, as businesses keen to capitalise on the new opportunities overseas struggle to hire the linguists they need.

The UK has long been criticised on the European and international stage for a perceived reluctance to learn foreign languages or promote their learning in schools. Now this apathetic approach to language learning has created a skills gap British businesses are desperately trying to fill.

Which languages are in demand?

Of the 291 companies surveyed in the annual education and skills survey conducted by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), 41 percent said they believed knowledge of a foreign language would be beneficial to their business, while 65 percent identified a need for foreign language skills.

Given the fact that the EU is still the UK’s biggest exporting market, it is no surprise to see European languages valued so highly, but with China and Latin America seeing solid growth, ambitious UK firms are clearly on the lookout for the language skills that can smooth the path into new markets.

The most sought after languages include:

1. French (50 percent)
2. German 49 percent)
3. Spanish (44 percent)
4. Mandarin (31 percent)
5. Arabic (23 percent)
6. Polish (19 percent)
7. Russian (18 percent)
8. Cantonese (16 percent)
9. Japanese (15 percent)
10. Portuguese (11 percent)
11. Other (16 percent)

An increase in ‘skills shortage vacancies’

There have been worrying signs in British schools, with one in five having a persistently low take-up of foreign languages, and teachers struggling to make children appreciate the role a foreign language in many modern careers. There has also been a slump in the number of students studying foreign languages over the last decade.

The result of this dwindling appetite for foreign language learning has been a widening of the skills gap, with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills reporting an increase in ‘skills shortage vacancies’, where businesses cannot find recruits with the qualifications and experience they need.

How can we help?

At Linguistica Recruitment, we work with candidates and employers to place highly qualified, talented linguists in ambitious companies on the South Coast. We fill vacancies across a diverse range of sectors and industries, helping our candidates find fulfilling linguistic careers rather than stop-gap jobs.

Take a look at our clients and candidates pages to see how we can help you. Alternatively, please get in touch today.

Welcome to Linguistica Recruitment!

The demand for talented linguists has never been greater than it is right now. 21st-century transportation and communication links have increased the reach and ambition of British businesses. We can now travel to any part of the world in less than a day, and communicate with anyone, anywhere, almost instantaneously. The result is that even small enterprises are exporting their products and creating international links that allow them to grow their businesses overseas.

The language barrier is one of the few problems technology is yet to solve. Yes, you can put a sentence or two into Google translate and send a message around the world, but how much confidence can you really have in a system that does not account for the syntax or nuances of language? A Chinese furniture manufacturer trusted such software to translate the labels on its products from Chinese to English, and inadvertently created the first ever leather sofa to contain a racial slur!

The solution is to hire talented linguists so you can enter new markets with confidence, and that’s where we can help!

Your Next Great Language Job… 

We offer a specialist language recruitment service for candidates and employers, filling a diverse range of multilingual jobs with talented linguists across the South Coast.

Identifying, screening and hiring applicants with the linguistic skills businesses need to succeed overseas can be a challenge for conventional recruiters. Many corporate recruiters lack the linguistic expertise and experience they need to assess the skills of the applicants they are placing. The result can be marketing messages, website copy, product descriptions and corporate communications that lack the clarity and concision you need.

The truth is, to be completely confident in a candidate’s language skills, you have to be a linguist yourself. At Linguistica Recruitment, all our candidates undergo comprehensive written and spoken language tests to make sure their language skills (both English and their second language) are up to the job.

This approach has created an enviable track record of placing talented multilingual staff in a diverse range of marketing, communications, customer services, interpreting, logistics, legal, market research and finance roles. And now we’re ready to help you.

Stay tuned to our blog

Over the coming weeks and months, we will keep you up to date with regular posts that provide candidates and recruiters with hints and tips to help you find your next great language job, or your next talented linguist.

We always welcome feedback from our readers, so if there are any topics you’d like to see covered, or experiences of UK language jobs you’d like to share, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Send an email to info@linguistica-recruitment.com, call +44 2392 987 765 or leave your thoughts in the comments section below.