Research by the Modern Language Association indicates that the number of American students who learned a language other than English decreased by about 100,000 between 2009 and 2013. So what does this mean exactly? For starters, it means the demand for multilingual employees is rising.
This trend has made the need for language testing across many markets all the more prevalent and in some cases required. For instance, PayPal, the leader in online payments, uses Language Testing International (LTI) to test the language skills of its prospective employees who are required to speak various languages.
“LTI helps us accomplish ensuring our applicants and new hires have the correct level of language fluency that’s needed to perform the role,” states Jana Eichorn, PayPal’s Talent Acquisition Manager.
PayPal, like many companies know the importance of arming themselves with bilingual and multilingual employees to effectively interact and communicate with their clients and partners all over the world.
Which languages will dominate the future global growth markets?
A recent U.K.-focused report, by the British Council, identified more than 20 growth markets and their main languages — Brazil, Russia, India, China — Each are viewed as the world’s biggest emerging economies. “Spanish and Arabic score particularly highly on this indicator,” the British Council report concluded for the U.K. However, when taking into account demographic trends until 2050 as highlighted by the United Nations, the results are quite different.
Hindi, Bengali, Urdu and Indonesian will dominate much of the business world by 2050, followed by Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and Russian. So for companies looking to expand globally, these are the languages employees will need to effectively communicate in and likely need to be tested for.
Lisa March is a bilingual Marketing and Sales Executive. She works closely with LTI on strategic partnerships, business development and marketing. Her efforts help LTI scale the use and implementation of language assessments in schools, institutions, corporations and government agencies.