Post Brexit, European language skills may be in ever increasing demand as British companies wishing to do business with European customers may not be able to rely on employing EU candidates as easily as they have in the past. This is sure to shake things up a bit in the for the recruitment sector.
Even as top recruitment agencies in London may be worrying about a possible exodus of European companies, according to experts it seems unlikely that multinational companies will not want a base in London even if they have to move staff between their European offices.
Recruiters struggle to fill roles requiring language skills
If however over the longer term it becomes more difficult or even less desirable for an EU citizen to come to the UK, it will be increasingly important that recruitment candidates for PA and Secretarial jobs in London should brush up on their language skills – this is one thing which will go a long way toward supporting those European companies which are based in London.
And recruitment agencies in London have long lamented the lack of good candidates with language skills, one of the hardest position requirements to fulfil according to Senior Consultant Natasha Greely at RMS Recruitment.
Britain lags behind the rest of Europe
According to reports, over half of Europeans speak a second language and in many countries like Sweden, Luxembourg and The Netherlands, it is over 90%. This is in stark contrast to estimates that only 25% of British adults speak a second language in spite of all those years of French lessons at school! The age-old excuse that “everyone speaks English” no longer holds true. In fact it is estimated that over 70% of the world’s population does not speak English and particularly so in emerging economies like China, Brazil and the Middle East. Having a second language under your belt could help set you aside from the other recruitment candidates.
Multi-lingual staff will give companies the edge
British companies wanting to prove to European customers that they still want to do business with them may need to pay more attention to the linguistic skills of their recruited workforce. And it’s not just the senior executives who need these language skills, many administrative roles go unfilled due to the language deficit. Multilingual staff can be instrumental in securing overseas contracts. The idea that a UK company would buy products or services from an overseas company which tried to sell to them in a foreign language would be unthinkable but this is exactly what some UK companies have expected the rest of Europe to do!
Which languages are most in demand
In 2013 The British Council highlighted the 10 most important languages for the UK economy over the next 20 years as Spanish, Arabic, French, Mandarin Chinese, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Turkish and Japanese based on UK business needs, overseas trade targets, diplomatic and security issues and Internet usage. Plenty to choose from in that case! If you speak one of these languages and are seeking recruitment opportunities, you could be in luck.
How to enjoy learning a language
If you were switched off to languages at school, don’t despair. Learning a language can be fun and immensely rewarding if you are prepared to leave your comfort zone! Here are some useful tips to help you on your way to successful recruitment.
- Pick a language which will be of most use to you so that you get to practise it frequently.
- See if you can make friends with the communities in London who speak your target language. Their countries’ London embassies are a good place to start.
- Download online language courses like those pioneered by Rosetta Stone onto your Smartphone.
- Devote your commuting time to your online language course. You will be amazed how quickly you advance by doing 30 minutes each day, 5 days a week.
- If you have work colleagues who speak your target language, ask them to spend lunch hours talking with you.
- Set yourself realistic targets – don’t aim to be fluent within a year – a more realistic target is to be able to understand a menu and order food in the language after a month.
- When you have a basic command of the language, buy a favourite childhood book in your target language as this will introduce you to vocabulary in a way which will be accessible and enjoyable.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – no-one will expect you to be fluent but they will appreciate effort over accuracy.
Even a little effort speaking in a foreign language will go a long way to thawing those post Brexit chills and can pave the way for a long term business relationship. Knowing your customer’s language also allows a greater understanding of culture, an important factor in successful trading partnerships but one which is often overlooked.
If you already speak more than one language, we would love to hear from you! Many of our PA and Secretarial jobs in London require language skills so please contact RMS Recruitment on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 518 9170.