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The demand in multilingual skills for global leadership candidates is increasing, with approximately 14 percent of “high-performing global companies” saying they hire only candidates who have “basic spoken competencies in multiple languages” for management positions, according to a 2012 survey of more than 1,000 companies on six continents by AMA Enterprise.
The good news is that many companies are willing to help you learn another language or two. In fact, 23 percent of survey respondents said they provide reimbursement for language training for all employees. Fifteen percent said they provide reimbursement to employees considered to be “high-potentials.” While four percent said that while they recommend “high-potential” employees develop multilingual skills they don’t provide any resources for their employees to learn another language.
English is still considered the predominant language of business around the world. However, that may not be the case in the future according to Sandi Edwards, SVP for AMA Enterprise. “This is a trend to watch. There is an emerging realization that English may not be the exclusive business language in the future, “she said. “And forward thinking organizations clearly see the value of the multilingual leader and look for greater language proficiency in their global leadership candidates.”
While English may be the language of business today, things are changing. Only 23 percent of the companies surveyed said they don’t require any multilingual skills. So if you have any ambition to work in the global arena in the future it’s time to add multilingual to your skill set.
To read the full survey visit HR.com.