Career ammunition for language graduates
If you find a business in the UK which deals with your year abroad destination, you would be a dream graduate trainee! You already speak the language and understand how the locals think, so you are like a secret weapon for a business trading there. So go out and do some research! Which are the businesses with the greatest potential?!
A surprisingly huge number of students we've met recently still think that their career options as a language graduate are limited to teaching, interpreting or translation. This is simply not the case. Global brands understand the positive value of communicating with clients and customers in a way which makes them feel comfortable. As Willy Brandt, the former German Chancellor put it: "If I'm selling to you, I speak your language. If I'm buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen." Mention this in interviews!
We can pep talk like this til the cows come home, so it might be more useful to have an armoury of stats, facts, figures and quotations to help you with your job hunt and interviews. Some will be useful, and some not, but we love them:
We will keep this list updated to ensure it's a truly relevant and accurate representation of what HR people, businesses, authorities and other related organisations are thinking, in terms of the value of the well-rounded 'Global Graduate'.
You should also check out our new jobs board: GlobalGraduates.com - filled with opportunities for young people with global skills!
Case study: Telefónica Digital
To give you an example of a business lamenting the lack of language skills in their new recruits, Telefónica has said that as a global digital business, headquartered in the UK, it "badly needs" more graduates who can speak second and even third languages to take advantage of huge opportunities in areas such as Latin America. Speaking to HR magazine, Geraldine Morel, global senior talent consultant at Telefónica Digital, said that employers are increasingly seeking talent abroad because of the shortage of graduates with a foreign language. She said:
"Employers are definitely looking abroad, so young people must now be more open to what is happening abroad. I'd encourage all young people in the UK to travel, experience different cultures and try to pick up a bit of language from their chosen country. The research shows that Brazil is one of the biggest growth markets, but only 3% of graduates speak Portuguese. If young people were aware of this it might influence them to study Portuguese and increase their job opportunities, especially in the digital arena."
The head of talent and development at Telefónica Digital added: "It is worrying that so few graduates speak additional languages today, particularly Spanish and Portuguese. Many digital businesses are global by their very nature, but in the UK it would seem we are not very well placed to take advantage of the massive opportunities in Brazil and Latin America simply due to our lack of language skills. The ability to understand and create new technologies is very important, but as we involve our graduates in a whole range of business functions from HR to marketing, cloud technology, video and machine-to-machine, the ability to understand and learn is crucial."
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