Foreign Language Proficiency Makes More Than Cents

Although many business leaders have no difficulty understanding the practical value of Language training can produce significant financial benefits for professionalssecond language proficiency, not everyone knows the financial benefits of being able to communicate in a foreign tongue. New research indicates, however, that the skill comes with not only soft perks, but a real monetary value as well.

Language Training Brings Financial Benefits

In recent coverage by The Economist, analysts examined the financial benefit that individual workers stand to gain when they have knowledge of a second language. According to the news source, a recent study indicated that a person who speaks a foreign tongue will receive an average earnings bonus of 2 percent over the course of their professional career.

Although this may not seem like a significant benefit, consider that it compounds over time. Modest estimates suggest that, during the course of an individual’s lifetime, this could amount to nearly $70,000 in additional earnings as compared to someone without foreign language proficiency. Additionally, the potential gain varies vastly by language, meaning that certain employees could see particularly significant benefits. For example, German speakers could earn as much as $128,000 more over the course of their professional career, French $77,000, and Spanish $51,000. Although many business leaders have no difficulty understanding the practical value of second language proficiency, not everyone knows the financial benefits of being able to communicate in a foreign tongue.

Implementing Employee Training Programs

When companies decide to implement language courses for employees, they want to ask themselves a few important questions. First, what languages would best serve their business? In an ideal situation, companies should be able to cover a broad range of tongues, but this is typically not practical in terms of financial and human resources. Consider the clientele base, and what languages would be most beneficial in terms of improving customer service.

Second, think about the best techniques for staff training. Would in-office classes be best for workers’ schedules and availability, or is online coursework preferable for allowing employees flexibility, both in terms of time and resources? A long-term schedule is also important. Depending on the goals of the training, shorter, subject-based materials may be best. For general second language acquisition, the plan will probably have to be longer and more thorough. Determining each stage of the learning process can help make it smoother, and impressing upon workers the real financial benefit they stand to gain may motivate them to achievement.

 

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