By Derek Newton
Reposted from Forbes, with permission.
When employers are asked what they look for in employees and job applicants, communication skills are always high on the list. The ability to express ideas clearly and accurately is valuable, durable and highly marketable.
It may not be much of a surprise then to learn that businesses will not only pay well for employees who can communicate, but may pay even better for those who can do so in more than one way. If connecting with people, understanding them, and delivering uncluttered and compelling messages is good, being able to do it with more people, in different ways and in diverse places is better.
In other words, businesses put a premium on being multilingual.
Thanks to Preply, a top language learning provider, we now know what another language is worth in today’s job market.
Overall, Preply says there are big benefits to bringing a second or third language to your job application. “Having a second language under your belt continues to be seen as a massive plus by employers, and it may even be what sets you apart from other applicants,” said Daniele Saccardi, Campaigns Manager for Preply.
But not all language skills are coveted to same degree.
So, if someone is considering learning a second or third language, what languages do employers want most? If you got to pick a language to study and your career options were a factor, what language is most worth learning?
After the company scanned 1.5 million job listings, Preply says that speaking Spanish will give you the most opportunities. Speaking German or Portuguese will earn you the most money.
Preply’s study found that, of the 750,000 American jobs that sought bilingual employees, more than 152,000 were seeking Spanish speakers. That’s one in every five and a massive amount of opportunity for those who know the language.
They also found that for advertised jobs in the U.S., speaking German will land you the highest salary. Jobs that demand Deutsch pay, on average, nearly $70,000 a year – $69,898.22 to be precise. Not far behind is Portuguese. If you land a job that opens doors in places such as Brazil and Cape Verde, you’ll earn an average salary of $64,507, says Preply. In the salary race, knowing Japanese is third, with an average salary of $58,840.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary or wage in the U.S., regardless of language skills is about $53,000. So, knowing your Portuguese or Japanese or German can really pay off.
What’s really interesting about the new Preply data is that they were able to break it down by major city as well as by language.
In New York City, knowing Portuguese is a big deal. The average salary for a Portuguese-speaking worker in the Grande Maça – that’s Portuguese for Big Apple – is $263,780. Knowing Japanese in NYC is worth an average salary of $97,450, Preply says.
In San Francisco, knowing German is king with an average salary of $124,987. In Boston, German is the top salary dog too with an average pay of $129,300. In Chicago, it’s German again, at $144,880. But in Chi-town, the second and third best salaries for specific languages go to French and Italian at salaries of $115,000 and $84,000 respectively.
Seeing all those six-digit salaries makes the point. Language skills pay off for employee and employer alike. And not just because a multi-lingual team member can talk to more people.
“In reality, having a second language allows you access to a whole new culture. When you commit to learning a new language, you’re automatically submerging yourself within an entirely new way of thinking and living,” said Saccardi.
There’s actually more to it than even that, Saccardi says. “Being multilingual also signals to employers that you’re likely to have other characteristics such as versatility, ambition, and sensitivity to other cultures,” he said.
If the salaries and competitive career advantages aren’t enough incentive to learn a new language or enhance your existing understanding, here’s another reason to plug in the headphones and start sounding out new words – employees who can speak another language may not just get more or better jobs here, they can become attractive candidates to work in exotic locations. If you dream of living in Paris, drawing a nice salary from an American company, it will help to speak at least some French.
Of all the things that can be done to enhance someone’s career prospects or open new pathways, learning a new language is probably the fastest, least expensive and most rewarding – personally and financially. Compared to what it takes to earn an MBA or to learn to code, as examples, gathering up some German sounds like a großartige Idee. That’s German for great idea.