¿Se habla Espa ñol? 你说普通话吗? 日本語を話しますか。? هل تتكلم اللغة الإنجليزية /العربية؟?

If you don’t, new reports indicate that you may be at a distinct disadvantage in procuring a new job. An El Paso, TX news affiliate sheds light on the difficulties that black non-Spanish-speakers face finding work, particularly in border cities. The trend toward bi- and multilingual hiring is only expected to grow in the future. The 2010 U.S. Census revealed that the Latino population has quadrupled since 2000, making Latinos America’s largest minority group, at 50.6 million residents or 16 percent of the U.S. population.

According to The Grio, this should be particularly noted by black college students and job seekers, who are less likely to study foreign language:

According to doctoral research she conducted at Louisiana State University, Katrina Watterson found that black college students take fewer foreign language classes and major or minor in foreign languages less frequently than their white counterparts. Further, African-Americans do not participate as often in foreign exchange programs. There is simply a lack of interest, in her view. And in the case of Spanish, part of the problem is that the language often is taught in a vacuum, where black students are unaware of the linkages between African and Hispanic culture, the Spanish and Portuguese slave trade, and the contributions of Afro-Latino people.

While a grasp of conversational Spanish remains one of the most immediate ways to distinguish oneself in the job market, Mandarin, Japanese, and Arabic (as listed, respectively, in the first line of this post) are also in increasing demand.

Are you multilingual? Has it helped you find employment? Do you actively use a second language at your job?

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  • Ruby

    Any second language can give you an edge. Also just because a person has Spanish speaking parents does not mean they “speak” Spanish. Although, my parents speak Spanish, I’ve studied Spanish at a college level and on my own. And that has made me fluent,

  • modern lady

    Spanish might help with a call center job, but in terms of a more profitable career choice, Chinese would be a lot more helpful with international markets. Possibly acquiring an obscure second language like Portuguese or German might also make you more marketable in some jobs, such as being a Translator.

  • carmela

    I’m Colombian, I visited Houston a couple years ago with a fluent english (I thik so anyway) only to found out that almost everybody spoke spanish, once I went to subway for lunch and nobody there knew a single word of english. I think it is a good thing to wellcome foreing people but they should make an effort to learn the local language, personally I get anoyed with foreing people in Colombia with poor spanish that gets upset because others don’t speak their language, I mean when in Rome…

  • gwan gyal

    I took spanish in jr high and high school..but skipped it in college. Been out of school for 5 years and recently began a self directed conversational spanish program. I did not attempt for the longest b/c i did not want to go back into classrooms and just do reading and writing. Fortunately, I’ve been able to find people that want to have conversations to improve their english..while helping me improve my spanish.

    Honestly, working in the corporate world does not require me to know spanish, but I want to travel more and not expect ppl to only speak English to me. I plan to learn more once I master Spanish…..French, Swahili, Italian, sign language…not so sure about mandarin or russian….perhaps I can try German. All of the Spanish ppl (from spain) that I have been practicing my spanish with have been saying that in Europe, German (and some Chinese) is pushed as a second language for them…english not so much..and especially not french.