Demand rises for people with multiple language skills
Demand for people with multiple language skills is rising, according to a report on European trends.
A Euro London Appointments report, European Hiring Trends – Autumn/Winter 2010, says that both on a permanent and temporary basis and in all of the sectors they cater to demand is rising, most notably within the banking and finance arena where it says hiring levels in some areas are back up to pre credit crunch levels.
However, candidates are cautious due to the economic climate and the report says there is “a disconnect between the availability of talent and the increasing level of hiring activity” with “those with the most in-demand skill sets finding themselves in the middle of bidding wars and counter offers”.
The survey results suggest that the idea that the international language of business is English is too simplistic. It says Russian is extensively used in Eastern Europe as a lingua franca (along with German and Polish); French is used to trade in parts of Africa, and Spanish is used in the same way in Latin America. It states: “It is therefore becoming increasingly apparent that candidates with one or more foreign language skills are at an advantage in the workplace and that in future, those who are not multilingual may struggle at the top of the employment market.”
A recent poll of 500 companies, conducted for the National Centre for Languages, revealed that one in four employers felt that the ability to speak a second language would give a candidate the edge when applying for a job.
The Euro London Appointments report says that hiring of those with multiple languages has increased significantly in the banking and financial services in London and the South East, where French and German are the most in demand language skills.
The continuing growth of social media within sales and marketing has led to a marked upturn in demand for online marketing, digital marketing and communications specialists as organisations continue to investigate new market channels, including internet advertising.
The report adds that one of the major hiring hotspots is the IGaming sector which not only weathered the recession well, but also continued to experience growth, fuelling demand for skilled marketers and customer service specialists. Within the call centre sector, there has also been a strong demand for multilingual candidates. There is also an increasing need for IT Customer Technical Support roles, says the report. “With customers now based all over the world, multilingual skills are key, not only in traditional western European languages but increasingly in Japanese, Arabic and Mandarin.”
In the North West of England, the report says Manchester acts as a hub for multilingual recruitment activity in sectors such as IT, manufacturing, finance and customer services.
However, says the report, “one of the major features of the past few months has been a shortage of candidates. As with the South East, jobseekers are being more discerning and we are also finding that the Euro/Sterling exchange rate is no longer attracting foreign nationals to seek employment in the UK. Additionally, employers are being very over specific about the skills and attributes that they require. Taken in combination with the lack of movement of salaries, this has resulted in a disconnect as the recruitment cycle has become increasingly candidate led.”
This means, says the report, that the best candidates are able to secure multiple interviews very quickly and the last year has seen more job offers turned down than in the previous four years. Many candidates, it adds, are also placing convenience over ambition, as they take a job that is close to where they live over a ‘dream job’ that would require relocation or is further away.