Bonjour…! Unfortunately, that’s all the French I will be sharing with you today, because while I’m writing about all the benefits of being bilingual in today’s job market, it is a skill that I don’t currently have.
If you were a kid growing up in the ’80s or ’90s in Canada, there is a good chance that you spent some time in class watching the French-speaking pineapple named “Ananas” on Téléfrançais. If you were anything like me, you didn’t pay much attention in your French classes because you didn’t live in Quebec, why would you ever need French?
Fast forward to now and I have lost track of the number of times I cursed myself for not meeting the bilingual requirement on job postings. I never thought that bilingualism would be a job requirement, both in agriculture and in an English-speaking province. Here are just a few of the ways you’re benefitting if you have a second language.
The Benefits of Being Bilingual
You Have a Job
About 20% of the Canadian (French) and US (Spanish) population are bilingual. With over 200 job postings on AgCareers.com requiring or preferring bilingualism that means 4 out of 5 candidates looking at that posting already won’t be applying. Depending on the area, bilingual people are between 10-20% less likely to be unemployed than their unilingual counterparts.1
You are Making More Money
A University of Guelph analysis of the Canadian census determined that by being bilingual men earned 3.8% more and women 6.6% more, and that’s without using the secondary language in the workplace. When actually utilizing both languages in their role the salaries were 17.8 and 13.6% higher than their unilingual coworkers!2
You Have Another Tool to Help You Excel
Regardless of whether or not you were hired for your bilingual characteristic, there will likely be an opportunity in your career when you can use your second language. Maybe you can go after sales in a previously untouched region, help a client that doesn’t speak English, help with onboarding a co-worker or even just assist in translating a site or some instructions for your manager. Even if you are rusty or hesitant to use your second language you probably know enough to impress those around you that only know English.
Head to AgCareers.com to check out jobs that are hiring for your secondary language. Better still, sign up for a Job Search Agent to automatically be notified when jobs are posted that match your skills and location.