In today’s competitive job market, many employers are looking for individuals who are able to speak more than one language. Increasing globalization means that the demand for people who can communicate across borders is higher than ever.
Learning another language can greatly expand your professional horizons - not only does it increase your chances of earning a higher salary, it opens up a world of opportunities for travel and will significantly enhance your skill set.
We’ve listed some of the best careers for bilinguals to help get you thinking about what’s possible for you.
Let’s start with an obvious one - countless organizations require translators and interpreters for all sorts of reasons. With more and more businesses expanding globally, there is unlikely to be a shortage of jobs in this arena any time soon.
This service is constantly required in places like hospitals, court houses, universities and immigration facilities, meaning there are plenty of diverse places to work for people who are able to communicate on behalf of others. What’s more, employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow 17 percent over the next ten years - much faster than the average for all occupations.
2. Customer Service Representative
With many companies basing their call centers all over the world, multilingual customer service has become highly valued - sales representative positions are the top most in-demand for bilingual workers on monster.com.
Resolving issues over the phone can be difficult at the best of times, so employers are looking to hire people who can overcome language barriers and help them widen their customer base.
3. Hospitality Manager
Hotels, resorts and tourist attractions need bilingual speakers to communicate with visitors from all over the world - think desk clerks, concierges and hotel managers.
The three industries that rely almost entirely on tourism (accommodation, travel agencies/tour operators, air transport) employ 3.3 million people in the EU, so bilinguals have an excellent chance of finding good work in this growing sector.
4. Human Resources Specialist
Bilingual human resource specialists allow companies much more scope when it comes to hiring. A 2017 study by McKinsey & Company showed that ethnic diversity in the workplace was clearly correlated with profitability.
Multilingual speakers are invaluable in this field as they are able to hire candidates from other countries and cultures - an attractive prospect for globally expanding companies.
5. Flight Attendant
Being bilingual is a useful skill for anyone in the air transport industry, but especially so for flight attendants. With an increasing number of passengers and the rise of online reviews, many airlines are focusing on their customer service.
This means hiring more multilingual staff members to improve inflight communications — in August 2018, thetravel.com reported that airlines are prioritizing applicants fluent in Cantonese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, and/or Portuguese.
Teachers who speak more than one language are essential in areas with multicultural populations. It’s a career with longevity, especially since many schools are now investing in better language programs for younger children.
What’s more, bilingual teachers are able to pass on their love of language to a new generation.
Bilingual speakers looking for a career in media will find themselves at a significant advantage. For journalists, speaking another language helps with research, conducting interviews, and even writing whole articles for non-English media.
It’s a skill also needed for copywriters in the advertising field, and writers who can translate works of creative fiction, making them accessible to a wider audience.
8. Healthcare Professional
Hospitals and clinics are busy places that see a great number of diverse patients every day. It can be stressful communicating information in an emergency, especially for people whose first language isn’t English - so bilingual doctors, nurses, paramedics and emergency telecommunications staff are all very much in demand.
Being able to help in this way saves time and can save lives.
9. Social Worker
Social workers are a vital part of today’s society. This is a challenging yet rewarding career that requires a great deal of cultural awareness.
Being able to communicate with people and allowing them to express themselves about potentially complex and emotional issues in their native language is powerful and valuable in this career.
10. Marketing Manager
For businesses trying to sell their products all over the world, international marketing campaigns are key.
Buying power is growing, and companies need people who are fluent in the language of their target consumers to successfully convey brand messages.
11. Information Technology Consultant
There’s much more human interaction in this profession than you might think. Because trends in IT move so quickly, people who specialize in niche areas like artificial intelligence and cloud computing are often required to travel, sharing their ideas with other companies and branches of their organizations based in other countries.
Bilingual speakers with such knowledge are extremely sought after in today’s ever-changing field of technology.
These days, both government and private employers realize that providing good customer service depends on how well they can communicate, which means bilingual workers often have the upper hand in a competitive job market.
So if you’re thinking of learning a new language to boost your CV or pursue your dream career, there’s never been a better time than the present moment.