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Australia – Language skills give jobseekers an edge

11 February 2014

Speaking another language is a hugely important business skill and something that will only become more important for jobseekers in the future, according to the latest edition of the Hays Journal from recruitment firm Hays.

Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays Australia and New Zealand, commented: “While the ability to speak English has been the deciding factor in the success of numerous businesses around the world, it is increasingly true that its role as the language of international business is under threat.”

“Brazil has overtaken the UK to become the world’s sixth largest economy, meaning fluency in Portuguese will become increasingly useful. And the ability to communicate with clients and colleagues in the rapidly growing Russian market will be advantageous. Closer to home, Mandarin language skills have been highly valued for some time.”

Mr Deligiannis continued: “We’re seeing more businesspeople who’ve learnt new languages and when speaking to these candidates many talk of the value these skills have brought to their career. Improving your language skills benefits both your personal development and the organisation’s capability in an increasing global business environment.”

“For those looking to move up, these skills and the cultural intelligence they often come with are equally indispensable for today’s global executives and the organisations they lead.”

According to Hays, Australia and other countries in established economies are no longer in a position to assume that other people share their language or system of values. Increasingly, we have to have the insight to understand people on their own terms and in their own language.

“Although English remains the global business language, organisations will hugely benefit from hiring staff who are fluent in other languages and including language skills in graduate training. Jobseekers should look at what languages can give them a vital edge and what will be useful in the future,” Mr Deligiannis advised. 

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