The demand for multilingual employees has been on the rise for decades, both worldwide and in the United States. Since 2020, remote work has become the new normal and many businesses have taken advantage of the global job market to hire new international talent.
So, why do US companies demand more professionals that speak other languages in addition to English? The goal of achieving excellence in customer care on a global scale, the benefits of a diverse work environment and the increased availability of a global multicultural workforce were some of the factors that contributed to this boost.
Of course, this is not news to us: we are a multicultural and multilingual team that works on a daily basis with professionals and clients all over the world. On top of it, we provide multilingual staffing services and cultural awareness training.
As we will see, the increasing demand for talent with specific language skills does not only impact language professionals. Nowadays companies are also seeking to cover multilingual positions for marketing managers, IT Developers, Customer Care representatives and finance officers, among others.
How the pandemic increased the demand for remote multilingual workers
In 2020 the world changed, as the global Covid-19 pandemic had an impact on many aspects of everyday life, with professional and business activities not being an exception. Most offices had to close their doors and remote work culture experienced a sudden rise. Businesses had to adapt their work locations and work habits to this new scenario.
Working from home became the new normal. The location where the employees perform their tasks became less restricted, as people could work from other locations, friends and family homes, or even living abroad. As a result, many well-known companies, such as Spotify and Twitter, adopted a “work from anywhere” policy. In this remote work landscape, the demand for professionals that are proficient in English and a second language experienced a new rise.
In the first year of the pandemic, from February 2020 to March 2021, bilingual job postings increased 30%, according to Tech Republic. The demand for bilingual positions such as Legal Managers, Software Developers, Executive Assistant and Marketing Managers, just to name a few examples.
The projections for the multilingual job market only seem to go one way: up. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that translators and interpreters were the most demanded professionals, and that this trend will increase 20% by 2026. Of course, this situation is also driven by the popularity of communication technologies, such as Video Remote Interpreting, Remote Interpreting for online events and the online translation of documents and marketing materials.
The increasing demand for multilingual professionals is also quite evident in the healthcare industry. Call center staff, nurses, paramedics and other professionals are among the most requested positions. Related to this matter, we have previously covered this topic on other blog posts about language barriers in medical situations.
But the growing demand for multilingual professionals does not end with language services and healthcare. Professionals that speak more than one language are already viewed as desirable candidates in many other fields, such as communications, management, customer care and human resources.
Increasing demand for multilingual employees: not new and not just a trend
In reality, the increase in demand for multilingual employees has been developing for many years. 2015 New American Economy (NAE) report already indicated the demand for bilingual employees had doubled within five years: “While U.S. employers posted roughly 240,000 job advertisements aimed at bilingual workers in 2010, that figure had more than doubled by 2015, growing to approximately 630,000”.
In 2019 the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) already reported: “According to a survey of 1,200 managers and human resources professionals familiar with their organization’s foreign language needs, U.S. employers are losing business opportunities because they can’t find employees who are able to communicate in languages other than English”. The report emphasized that industries such as healthcare, education and trading will require at least 50% more bilingual personnel in the near future.
This means that the need of multilingual professionals in the US market is not new and is not just a pandemic trend: it has been developing for many years and is here to stay. The new remote work culture opened the doors for sourcing worldwide talent. While this may look as its making recruiters’ job easier, in reality it doesn’t. How to find the right candidate when you must look everywhere? How to test their language and other skills in a proper interview process? These are some of the new challenges for human resources professionals that we can help you with.
Multilingual Staffing Solutions
Are you having a hard time finding the right multilingual employee for your company? Are you missing business opportunities because no one on your staff speaks the languages you need? We at Bromberg & Associates have professional multilingual recruiters that can help you find the best talent. Contact us today and start working with the best multilingual staff.