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Why You Should Learn Spanish

Why You Should Learn Spanish

Dan Woog | Monster Contributing Writer

Customer service operations are also hiring bilingual workers. From clerks at the Department of Motor Vehicles to call center representatives to supervisors in the hospitality industry, the growth of Spanish speakers as both customers and workers means more demand for bilingual customer service. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, up to 20 percent of call center companies’ staffs are bilingual. Salaries vary depending on additional skills required, but some call centers pay bilingual workers 50 cents to a dollar more per hour.

The Korn/Ferry survey showed the greatest need for bilingual employees is in the consumer services sector, particularly banking, retail and telecommunications. Bilingual executives are most frequently needed in marketing, sales and general management and to serve as president or CEO.

The Cultural Shift

The rise of bilingualism represents a cultural shift for many Americans. “We’re not a multilingual country,” Birmingham says. “A lot of students take another language because they have to, to graduate.” However, he sees a shift in attitude, particularly among people who want to work in the global economy. “If you see yourself doing work internationally or going into banking or trade or any other business where you’ll travel, you’ll take Spanish more seriously,” Birmingham says.

Spanish-speaking job seekers can do more than simply highlight their language ability on a resume, Birmingham says. One suggestion: Offer to conduct a job interview in Spanish, which shows you’re confident and assertive.

Keep in mind both English and Spanish may one day be less relevant in the global marketplace. According to the Information Please database, 425 million people now speak Spanish. Another 514 million people around the globe speak English. However, more than 1 billion speak Chinese.