Labor Market

The first part of this blog series was about how language skills not only make travelling easier, but also more interesting and enriching. This statement was also supported by the experience report Volunteering in Chile. Now, in this blog post we will give you another reason why you should learn a foreign language: Multilingualism increases job opportunities.

Switzerland is a multilingual country

Switzerland has four national languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh, and is, therefore, a multilingual country. Thus, it is not surprising that a lot of jobs require a good knowledge of at least two national languages. What is more, if you are able to speak multiple national languages, you can live and work in all language regions of Switzerland without any problems.

Cultural diversity in Switzerland

However, there are far more than just four languages spoken in Switzerland. As a multicultural country, we meet people from diverse cultural backgrounds every day. In fact, patients, clients and customers are usually grateful and happy when someone speaks their language. Let me give you some examples. The patient is happy when the doctor knows a few words of Arabic. The client is grateful when the specialist talks to him in Portuguese. And the customer may come back to the same restaurant because the service employee spoke French in such a charming manner. Thus, language skills in everyday professional life not only simplify communication and avoid misunderstandings, but also support interpersonal relationships and customer loyalty.

Multilingual teams and international companies

But sometimes it is not only external communication that relies on multilingualism, but also internal communication, for example in multilingual teams and international companies. Since multinational companies are expanding all around the world, multilingual teams will become even more important in the future. For this reason, foreign language skills are essential, especially for people who want to work in international organisations.

Global networking and international exchange

That said, our world becomes more and more intertwined and globalized. We constantly exchange information. This is partly due to the fact that the challenges that we face today can only be solved as a global community. And this is why international exchange seems to be of central importance. In order that this exchange takes place successfully, language skills are – of course – fundamental.

Language-related professions

Furthermore, there exist professions that are tied to a language. For instance, very good English skills are an absolute must in the field of research. Moreover, the ability to communicate effectively in English, which is an international lingua franca, is crucial in export and import and also in management positions. Other important languages for your career include French, Spanish, Mandarin, Russian and Arabic.

Work abroad

However, multilingualism is not only a huge advantage in Switzerland, when working in multilingual teams and companies, when exchanging information and ideas on a global level or for language-related professions. Learning a new language is also worthwhile for all those whose dream it is to live and work abroad for a certain period of time.

Conclusion

To sum up, foreign language skills are a major benefit for today’s labour market. Due to Switzerland’s quadrilingualism, knowledge of the national languages is often a prerequisite. Furthermore, our society is made up of many different cultures, and foreign language skills are, thus, a clear advantage. Additionally, it is worth learning a foreign language if you want to work in a multilingual team or for an international organisation. Due to the importance of networking and international exchange of information and ideas, English as an international lingua franca is particularly important. This also applies to professional fields such as research. Finally, it can also be a great experience to learn a foreign language in order to then live and work abroad for a certain period of time.

In general, and regardless of whether it is a job abroad or your dream job in Switzerland, knowing foreign languages will definitely bring you closer to your professional goals and will help you grow personally.

Now it is your turn. Are you already learning a foreign language? What motivated you to learn a new language? What experiences have you had with your language skills in your professional life? Tell us about it in the comments and let us know whether you liked this blog post, what was missing and what topics you would like to see in the future.

von Nelly Müller – Sprachen Akademie

back to Part 1