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Language skills increasingly important

“While the ability to speak English has been the deciding factor in the success of numerous businesses around the world, it is increasingly true that its role as the language of international business is under threat,” says Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand.

“Brazil has overtaken the UK to become the world’s sixth largest economy, meaning fluency in Portuguese will become increasingly useful. And the ability to communicate with clients and colleagues in the rapidly growing Russian market will be advantageous.

“Closer to home, Mandarin language skills have been highly valued for some time.

“We’re seeing more businesspeople who’ve learnt new languages and when speaking to these candidates many talk of the value these skills have brought to their career.”

The issue is explored in the latest Hays Journal, the recruiter’s bi-annual magazine on the world of HR and recruitment.

“Improving your language skills benefits both your personal development and the organisation’s capability in an increasing global business environment.

“For those looking to move up, these skills and the cultural intelligence they often come with are equally indispensable for today’s global executives and the organisations they lead.”

According to Hays, Australia and other countries in established economies are no longer in a position to assume that other people share their language or system of values. Increasingly, we have to have the insight to understand people on their own terms and in their own language.

“Although English remains the global business language, organisations will hugely benefit from hiring staff who are fluent in other languages and including language skills in graduate training. Job seekers should look at what languages can give them a vital edge and what will be useful in the future.”

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