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10 Advantages of Being Bilingual in the Workplace

Bilinguals have an easy time understanding mathematical concepts and developing strong thinking skills. Compared to non-bilingual people, bilinguals develop problem-solving skills and can learn more languages.

Based on a 2011 Census Bureau survey, 21% of Americans speak a language other than English. The majority of Americans who are bilingual speak Spanish (55%), French (17%), and German (10%). Experts estimate that the US will be home to more than 138 million Spanish speakers by 2015.

As such, it will be the biggest Spanish speaking country in the world.

In this post on bilingualism, we will share the amazing advantages of being bilingual.

Better Job Opportunities

Today, multinational companies are opening offices in countries such as India, and UAE. To conduct business overseas and bypass language barriers, companies are hiring bilingual employees.

Available jobs for bilinguals include:

  • Client service specialist
  • Customer service agents
  • Passport clerk among others.

Based on recent statistics, employment of interpreters and translators will grow by 18%. Increase in bilinguals and globalization will drive employment growth. Communicating with foreign customers and clients is a big advantage now that globalization has simplified how we travel and work.

Improves Your Multitasking Skills

Language switching is a technique that bilinguals use when communicating with monolinguals. According to experts, language switching is enabled by the inhibitory control.

Language co-activation is the parallel activity of the two languages.  To limit competition, the inhibitory control mechanism kicks in. This prevents one from providing an answer based on emotion and not logic.

The anterior cingulate cortex plays a key role in language switching. Since bilinguals have to use the ACC more, they have more gray matter. As such, they can multitask, focus on tasks and solve problems.

Access to More Cultures

Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

“ everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and benefits.”

Access to more cultures is part of being a global citizen and a member of society. To safeguard and promote other cultures, it is important to learn more than one language. As a bilingual, you can enjoy the cultural heritage of others.

Improves Decision Making

When it comes to decision making, bilinguals are more reason-driven compared to monolinguals. This is one of the top benefits of being bilingual. According to experts, bilinguals can deliberate in a second language.

Also, they can distance themselves from biases associated with the native language.

The result?

Bilinguals are capable of making better decisions based on facts and not emotions.

Increased Pay

Bilingual employees make between 5% to 20% more per hour than monolingual employees. Recent statistics show that companies are hiring more bilinguals than monolinguals. As an added perk, companies are offering such employees with higher pay.

Today, US law firms are receiving clients from diverse backgrounds. To avoid missing out on new business, they must be ready to answer clients’ questions. Language barrier is a common issue. Due to this, they lost a lot of business.

Why? They were unable to understand their clients’ requirements.

One of the advantages of being bilingual is the ability to work at a Spanish speaking answering company. As an attorney, choosing a Spanish speaking answering service translates to:

  • Satisfied customers
  • More business
  • Have a competitive edge
  • Improved customer service

Want to know more about Spanish speaking answering services? Click here.

Enhances Social Connection

Monolinguals are disadvantaged in the modern world where communication allows for social growth. Being bilingual gives you the advantage of communicating with more people. As such, it enhances social connection. Also, it helps you forge closer relationships in the workplace.

Had difficulty communicating at the office? Learning another language can change this. How? Language frames our thoughts and fuels our brains.

This allows you to communicate with fellow workers speaking your second language. Also, you get to learn social traditions tied to your second language.

Also, it widens your social circle.

Expand Your Skill Set

Learning a second language allows you to understand cultures, and connect on a new level. It opens new doors and allows you to better understand other people, and their traditions. This helps you to appreciate religions and history associated with the new language.

Also, learning a new language promotes empathy, and expands your skill set. Research has proven that bilingualism makes it easy to express positive attitudes. Also, it makes you more open.

Helps You Learn New Languages

Bilinguals can learn more languages than monolinguals. The reason for this is that learning a second language reinforces one’s skills. As such, it is easier to learn a third or fourth language because one can transfer skills.

This opens more opportunities for you. If your employer is opening a new office in a multicultural city, you are the ideal candidate.

Increased Creativity

Bilingual people have advanced creativity. Speaking more than one language enhances the brain’s capability to think out of the box. When it comes to challenges in the office, bilinguals are likely to come up with smart solutions.

This attribute makes it easier for bilinguals to find better opportunities. Also, they can innovate ideas that aid in improving service delivery to customers.

Help Fellow Employees Become More Tolerant

1 in 5 employees has experienced some form of discrimination in the past 12 months.

To find out if workplace discrimination exists, researchers carried out two experiments. In the first experiment, they sent out resumes. Each resume had similar experience and education but the names were different.

For the second experiment, researchers took a group of people for job interviews. The group consisted of people from diverse backgrounds. From the results, researchers discovered the following:

“White applicants received 24% more callbacks than equally qualified Latinos.”

To combat discrimination, experts recommend learning more languages other than English. As such, it opens one’s mind, brings new perspectives and makes one tolerant of discrimination.

Wrapping up the Advantages of Being Bilingual

Learning another language sheds light into the aspects of a new culture. Having this knowledge allows you to find a greater appreciation in other cultures. Other advantages of being bilingual include more job opportunities and higher pay.

Being bilingual also helps employees become tolerant of discrimination, and advance career-wise.

We hope the article has sparked your interest in learning a second, third or even fourth language.

What benefits have you had as a bilingual? Are you inspired to learn a second language? Check out our blog for more tips.