The global language industry has been one of the hardest hit by the unprecedented scale of the coronavirus outbreak. This is reflected by the number of language jobs that are currently available in the UK and around the world. However, there are signs that the worst of the slowdown in the global language industry could be over as the decline in language jobs steadies in July.
The downward trend in language job postings
The Slator Language Industry Job Index was developed as a method of tracking employment levels and job market activity in the language industry. It provides a meaningful pattern of language job trends and measures the expansion and contraction of hiring activity across the industry.
The baseline for measuring expansion and contraction of employment and hiring activity was taken to be July 2018 (100). From there, after rising steadily, the index fell dramatically in late March and April this year, when lockdown measures were imposed.
However, despite the widespread uncertainty that still exists in the language jobs market, the index fell by just one point from June to July 2020, in what could be a levelling out before the recovery begins.
The full economic impact may not be seen for months
The index is a measure of job market activity as it happens, but the full extent of the impact on the broader language economy may not be revealed for several months. July marks the fourth consecutive month that the job index has fallen. That peaked from April to May, when many major European economies were brought to a standstill and the index fell by 15 points.
However, we are now seeing the first signs of recovery, with the index levelling out from June to July and a slight uptick in job postings on language service provider websites for the first time since March. There was also an increase in postings on job aggregation sites in June; although, the number of language job postings on LinkedIn continued to fall, which is reflected by the downward trend in July overall.
An encouraging rise in language industry deal making
Another sign that the global language industry is showing the first shoots of recovery is the increase in merger and acquisition activity.
Several deals have been completed over the last month, such as the acquisition of Irish machine translation provider Iconic Translation Machines by UK-based language service provider RWS. US ecommerce provider Localised also raised $6.5m in a Series A funding that was backed by UK entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den stalwart Peter Jones.
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