Updated: Jan 17, 2019
The UK economy is already losing around £50bn a year in lost contracts because of a lack of language skills in the workforce.
The current economic status quo, proliferation of innovative technology, online start-ups and SEO novelties have all contributed to a de facto hectic competition arena for businesses worldwide. Hence, multilingualism is tantamount to a profit-making machine.
Robust multilingualism generates profits
In the words of Richard Hardie, Senior Adviser of the investment bank UBS: “A deep understanding of foreign languages is often essential to the combination of cajolery and seduction many companies require in their international negotiations.”
Multilingualism boosts staff well-being
Research shows that staff with multilingual skills infuse a breath of fresh air into their respective organisations. Invariably, those polyglots are inherently interested in other cultures, well-travelled, food connoisseurs, and proactively engage in meaningful conversations with their colleagues. Therefore, hiring multilingual staff elevates the teams' morales, motivates them, improves their work ethos, increases their patience, prolongs their work stamina, nourishes their ethnic and religious tolerance, and subsequently safeguards their well-being.
As such, empirical evidence demonstrates that fostering a global environment within teams' structure reinforces their cohesion and boosts productivity as well as financial recompense on the balance sheets.
As Nelson Mandela puts it best: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, it goes to his head. If you talk to a man in his language, it goes to his heart,”
Global Reach Expansion
All companies have a virtual age and they experience a life-cycle of peaks and troughs unless they constantly expand and reach new audiences. Mergers and acquisitions combined with a worldwide linguistic strategy expedite global reach in a sustainable manner, as cited by Harvard Business School. This helps businesses maintain their competitive edge in an ever-changing global marketplace, Successful CEOs surely know that their reputation is the most important asset to their companies, hence, they endeavour to learn a foreign language. For example, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg spoke satisfactory Mandarin to address 1.38 billion Chinese customer-base, 45.8% of which are active internet users.
According to a poll of 12,562 visitors to the Korn/Ferry International website, 31% of executives speak two languages and 20% are fluent in three. Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder multi-millionaire regrets not knowing a second language as he confessed his linguistic shortcomings during his third and most recent AMA (Reddit's Ask Me Anything). Furthermore, he expressed his desire to learn Arabic, French or Chinese.
Approximately 420 million people worldwide speak Arabic and they form an integral part of an emerging market growing exponentially. According to the scholar and author Vijay Mahajan, Arab countries consume more than China and their Middle East region is experiencing an unprecedented boom in infrastructure projects, learning, and digital innovation.
“When you look at per capita consumption power in the Arab world, it’s almost twice that of the Chinese and almost three times that of the Indian.”
Likewise, business school students and corporate executives are strongly encouraged to take Mandarin classes to polish their resumés and prepare for relationships overseas. As the GDP of China continues to grow and companies continue to outsource manufacturing, Mandarin-speaking employees will be in high demand too.
Contact us in UGARITT to support your organisation in harnessing linguistics to establish solid global relationships via the use of language interpretation, localisation and innovative linguistic business solutions.
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