There are more domestic jobs for bilinguals than monolinguals… or so you would think if you’ve looked at the want ads recently. Not everyone works at the global level. We’re not riding the wave of globalization, or forging relationships with foreign businesses (not first hand, anyway.) Lots of us are just regular Joe’s with jobs that serve our immediate communities. From clerks to attorneys, emergency aid workers to childcare providers, bankers, massage practitioners, you name it; bilingualism is becoming more common, and more desired by domestic employers (and consumers) than ever.
Search for the word ‘bilingual’ on any job-posting site and you’ll find a laundry list of companies, institutions, and service providers that are looking for workers who can speak more than one language proficiently. In my search I found that the majority of the positions asking for bilingual workers don’t require bilingualism, but, as the Human Resources Manager for the Hollywood, California Home Depot said, “Candidates for hire that possess a second language are more likely to get the job they are interviewing for than a candidate with the same qualifications but who aren’t bilingual.”
What languages are employers looking for? Well, different regions will require different languages depending on the demographic of the area. In Hollywood, California, for example, Home Depot asks that their employees be bilingual English/Spanish, /Russian, even /Armenian, whereas in their San Jose, California store, Spanish and Tagalog are the dominant second languages spoken by their staff.
This can all be good news, especially in a time of such high unemployment. So, if you are un- or underemployed, consider using your second language as an avenue to find a job, or maybe even a well-paid, meaningful career. And, of course, if you are feeling a little rusty in that second language of yours, you can always tune in to Livemocha and brush up on what you’ve forgotten.
What languages are spoken where you live? Here’s an idea, make your own Craigslist.com (or other job-posting site) search for bilingual jobs in your city and share two or three of the most interesting or surprising jobs that you found in the comments below. Who knows, you may find a job that suits you to a T.