U.S. Businesses Need Languages & Multiculturalism

ThinkstockPhotos-481237999A recent survey of more than 2,000 U.S. Human Resources (HR) managers found that 70% of respondents indicate that higher education in the U.S. needs to do more to prepare graduates in terms of language skills and multicultural experience, while one in six say that their company has lost business due to a lack of personnel with language skills and multicultural experience.

The survey of 2,101 HR managers in mid- and large-size U.S. companies by the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL), along with the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), and the Collegiate Employment Research Institute of Michigan State University showed that:

• 33% of U.S. mid and large size companies have international operations and/or serve multilingual/multicultural clientele

• 93% of these companies seek “employees who can show they are able to work effectively with customers, clients, and businesses from a range of different countries and cultures.”

• 64% seek employees with multicultural experience

• 49% seek employees with overseas experience

• 69% of respondents believe that higher education must do more to prepare students with Global Talent

• The top business skills in demand for initial hires with Global Talent: sales, customer service, project management

• The top sectors requiring Global Talent are manufacturing and engineering, professional services, and education

The survey also found that insufficient attention is paid to language as an enabler of these highly sought qualifications:

• 55% track employee foreign language skills

• 35% give advantage to multilingual candidates

• 21% report difficulty in managing and integrating diverse teams due to a lack of Global Talent

• 11% seek to fill jobs requiring foreign language skills

The study makes it clear that American businesses seek recruits with Global Talent – professionals in all disciplines who have a high level of proficiency in a foreign language and/or significant experience abroad – in order to better manage the increasing diversity of their workforces, and to better manage and market their services and products to multilingual and multicultural audiences in the U.S. and abroad.

U.S. Companies associate a wide range of positive attributes with Global Talent – increased risk-taking and improved risk management; flexibility; adaptability; and a greater ability to work with and manage diverse viewpoints – internally in company operations and externally with clients and customers of all backgrounds and in all locations.

#language #multiculturalism #US

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