How Being Bilingual Will Help Your Child in the Workforce
Raising bilingual kids can be a lot of extra work for parents! You have to help them acquire both languages with fluency, offer them opportunities to be immersed in each language, and assure that they are learning both academic and conversational literacy. That’s a ton of responsibility, but it will pay off for their future. Don’t you wish you had paid more attention in that French class in school? Foster the love of language in your kids, and you’ll give them a leg up in the workforce.
We are living in the time of world economies. Trade with foreign nations has gone digital, and it’s more important than ever for young people to have a global perspective. Speaking another language allows young adults to seek opportunities around the globe. Even if they choose to stay close to home, major corporations have headquarters all over the world. Bilingual employees have an easier time traveling for business, and are more likely to be promoted into positions that require travel.
For entrepreneurial youth, being bilingual means opening up new markets for their goods and services. They are more able to communicate across borders, allowing them to provide excellent customer service. In the business world, that can mean long term success and growth for a startup company.
The truth is, the majority of the world speaks more than one language. With that reality, speaking a second language makes your kid more competitive in their career pursuits. In some fields, like business, it opens markets that would otherwise be inaccessible. In fields like law or medicine, it creates a niche market that can be capitalized on.
Bilingual kids have this extra qualification without additional education. They are able to apply for entry level positions with a value-added skill. Even in the early stages of a young person’s career, speaking multiple languages can fast track their success.
It is no secret that knowing a second language makes it easier to learn a third, or fourth, or fifth. There are several growth markets out there for candidates with exceptional language acquisition skills. Whether in the public or private sectors, translators and interpreters are two of the fastest growing fields today. Businesses and governments alike want to increase their global reach, and translation is a key factor for that growth.
In the gig economy, freelance translators can make a mint picking up jobs online. Even kids as young as fourteen can find freelance work as translators, among other opportunities. If your child has fluency in both conversational and written languages, they can start building a professional reputation at a young age. Freelancers are their own boss, giving them opportunities they may not otherwise have.
Bilingualism can improve your earning potential in a variety of fields. Depending on your career path, some vocations increase base pay for entry level employees solely due to being bilingual. Despite the prevalence in other countries, it is considered a highly specialized skill in the English-speaking world. Being bilingual will aid your child in getting jobs and promotions. They double their communication capabilities, so they double their value. One study from MIT suggests that bilingual grads make an average of 2% more than their peers right out of college. Some jobs will pay as much as 20% more for a bilingual employee, according to Salary.com.
Bilingual kids are worth more than the sum of their languages. The process of learning in multiple languages improves your communication skills. You have to consider your words before you speak, analyzing your intent and how best to express it. Knowing more than one language gives you more perspectives to think from. Language is formed by culture, and language aids us in our cultural understanding. Being bilingual allows you to communicate across language and cultural barriers, opening the possibilities of collaboration. Bilingual managers can recruit and retain talent from a broader base, allowing their companies the best chance of success. They are indispensable employees.
Bilingual children are also exposed to a global mindset early in life. As they age, this globalized thinking becomes growth oriented. It is challenging for people with limited perspective to take risks, but bilingual children have a grand perspective. They are more equipped to take healthy risks, to collaborate with others, and to build stronger connections across cultures. Globally minded businesses thrive in today’s market.
It is clear why bilingual kids have advantages in the workforce. They can communicate more easily, with a broader range of people, and with more perspective than their peers. In addition, knowing a second language makes it easier to learn additional languages. As parents of bilingual kids, we need to foster language acquisition. Encourage literacy in both languages, and support your child in learning other languages as they grow. Language will be their key to thriving as adults.
Ron Stefanski is the founder of JobsForTeensHQ.com and has a passion for helping teenagers find jobs. He created the website because he feels that teenagers need to focus on their professional passions much earlier in life and aims to teach them how they can do that. When he’s not working on his website, Ron is a college professor and loves to travel the world.