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Speak Two Or More Foreign Languages? Youre Hired!

Speak Two Or More Foreign Languages? You’re Hired!

The increasingly global nature of business is giving jobseekers who speak two or more foreign languages the edge over their rivals when it comes to landing new roles in Greater Manchester, says recruiter Stark Brooks.

Demand for multi-lingual staff has taken off amid a rise in the number of firms establishing or consolidating overseas operations in the region, and as companies based here expand into territories such as Scandinavia and eastern Europe, says Annabelle Surch-Williams.

Annabelle, who speaks fluent French and Spanish, is a manager at Manchester-based Stark Brooks with responsibility for recruiting for roles which require multi-lingual skills.

She says French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Arabic and Cantonese speakers remain highly sought-after, and that languages such as Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Polish and Russian are in increasing demand from employers.

Stark Brooks has seen a 20 per cent surge in the past 18 months in positions specifying an ability to speak two or more foreign languages.

A growing number of companies are seeking multi-lingual staff for managerial, accounting, finance, human resources and IT helpdesk positions which command annual salaries ranging from &pound18,000 to &pound100,000, says Annabelle.

Annabelle says: “The market has changed significantly, and the range in demand for languages has broadened.

“No longer are clients looking for just one language plus English but, in most cases, two, with different combinations needed more and more. There’s been a noticeable shift.

“Companies’ requirements have grown, as more of them consolidate or move their European functions to a central hub, or a shared service centre, in the north west.

“Others, meanwhile, are expanding in countries that need different languages, which means they have to liaise effectively with key customers and suppliers on the continent, which could not ordinarily be done by an English-only speaker.

“Having staff who speak these languages gives businesses much more gravitas and enables them to provide much higher service levels, which are increasingly important in such a competitive, commercial world.

“The more languages a candidate has, the more versatile they appear and, ultimately, the more value they can add to a business.”

The north west, and Greater Manchester in particular, has become a magnet in recent years for shared service centres housing finance, human resources, IT, procurement and administrative functions. This is partly due to the region’s good transport links with the rest of Europe and beyond.

Sainsbury’s, WorldPay, McBride and SPX are among the companies which have recently established those types of operations in the region.


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