Learning A New Language Could Be The Thing That Finally Gets You A Raise

by Helena Negru
Laura Austin

Generation-Y grew up watching the worldwide news and chatting with friends across the globe, which brought us the nickname “globals.” This connected lifestyle made us Millennials feel “at home” everywhere because we are always updated with the local news in India, Milan or Bali. With one click, a Millennial can select a date across the ocean and reserve accommodation in a remote village. This lifestyle made us embrace the world and care for its wellbeing more than other generations.

Another benefit of our “global” lifestyle is the ability to adapt to a foreign culture easier and embrace the opportunities to work, study and live abroad.

The Millennial workforce is ready to take on the world.

In a survey, 59 percent of US Millennials stated they are willing to move abroad, while only 35 percent of all Americans would relocate in a foreign country. This willingness to leave home and embrace wanderlust opens us up to different cultures and lifestyles. As I stated before, it also gives us various opportunities to study abroad, which many Millennials take advantage of.

Another reason Millennials are traveling is the lack of jobs. When Generation-Y was faced with a lack of jobs and unemployment, they had to be creative to survive and build their careers. This is what pushed me and hundreds of other Millennials to freelance and become digital nomads. This, in turn, gave us a new perspective on the world. Why spend your life in a cubicle, trapped in a sedentary, boring life, when you can go out there and explore the world, while working from a cafe?

Overall, Millennials are independent, can master the latest technologies and are confident enough to do things their own way. They set the path; they don't other people's footsteps. But as a Millennial, you need one more thing to succeed abroad: a strong knowledge of foreign languages.

Even digital nomads are looking to improve their language skills, and they are taking up different courses in order to improve their value on the job market. When you are already among foreigners, it's easier to pick up the language, but not all languages are as easy to learn as Spanish and Italian.

Studying a foreign language is a great career move for Millennials.

It's a big plus for a graduate and any worker who wants to secure a job in the highly competitive and limited job market. Knowing how to speak a different language what makes you stand out of the crowd, especially in US, where most people only speak English and a bit of Spanish. Millennials understand this better than any other generation, yet few of them actually take the lead and enroll foreign language courses.

Another issue for the Millennial students is the fact they still look at foreign language classes as something they need to check in order to get more credits. So, few of them really think about which language to learn in order to secure a high-paying job.

For example, French is a great option for an American Millennial because there are many companies which look for French speakers in US. The number of American workers who can speak it is also very low. The same goes for Italian, Portuguese and Asian languages.

Speaking of Asian, China has a large economy, where the demand for professionals who speak Mandarin is very high. If you learn Chinese, you might change your life forever by relocating in Asia.

The trend is here to stay.

Wall Street Journal wrote that 42 percent of employers expect the demand for proficiency in Chinese to increase in the next decade, while 70 percent of employers report than demand for Spanish proficiency is going to raise in the future. This is due to the increasing number of Spanish-speaking individuals, and it's only a small slice of the cake.

There are studies that show being proficient in a foreign language can increase your monthly revenue. We're not talking about a few hundred dollars, but thousands.

This trend is spreading to all types of jobs, from military to economics and even health care. So, you can develop a career in any field you want by acquiring a new language. Then, there is always the option to work as a translator. After all, large gaming companies are hiring people who can translate their games from English to other languages.

Foreign language proficiency is a great add-on for your resume, and it can increase your value on the job market. It also makes you eligible for earning a lot more than your only English-speaking peers.

As a Millennial, not being proficient in a foreign language – at least one — is a missed opportunity, given your understanding of the globalization and cultural sensitivity. So, get out there and rule the world by not speaking your native language.