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Growth of BRICS economies leads to demand for language skills

The ability to speak multiple languages is becoming an increasingly valuable skill for modern employers, particularly as the five emerging BRICS economies grow in size and relevance on the global stage. That’s according to Hays Recruitment’s Managing Director in Australia and New Zealand, Nick Deligiannis, who recently spoke out claiming that English’s position as “the language of international business” is under threat.  “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,” explained Mr Deligiannis. “Job seekers should look at what languages can give them a vital edge and what will be useful in the future.”

Mr Deligiannis named Mandarin and Portuguese as two languages that are becoming increasingly valuable, particularly as China and Brazil begin to have more significance on the state of the global economy. The other three members of the BRICS association – Russia, India and South Africa – are also primarily non-English speaking countries, although all include English as a national language.

While it may be naive to suggest that Australian technology workers looking to improve their employability should take up another language, this news could be of interest to those already fluent in non-English languages.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the 2011 census revealed that 15 per cent of Australians speak a language other than English while at home.

Italian and Greek are the two most commonly spoken non-English languages, used by 2.3 and 1.6 per cent of the population, respectively. However, Cantonese (1.4 per cent) and Mandarin (0.6 per cent) – both national languages of China – were also named by a significant number of respondents.

Mr Deligiannis says that his company is speaking to more and more businesspeople who understand the value that speaking multiple languages can bring to their career.  This suggests bilingual candidates in the technology sector may want to consider highlighting an ability to speak a BRICS language on their CV or resume in the future, in order to maximise their chance of employment success.