ALEXANDRIA, Virginia–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) today announced the findings of its survey that draws attention to the serious lack of foreign language skills in the American workforce. . The report, “Making Languages Our Business: Addressing Foreign Language Demand Among US Employers”, shows the critical demand in the US economy for multilingual employees, offering the most comprehensive look at the value of foreign language to date. .
The demand for language skills in the American workforce is greater than ever. In boardrooms and in the field, with customers and partners, and on social media, American employers today are increasingly conducting business in a language other than English. As a result, the ability to communicate effectively in more than one language is an essential asset for American students and employees, not only to boost their marketability in the workplace, but also to help them thrive in a global economy.
This groundbreaking industry report, based on a survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for ACTFL as part of its Leading with languages
campaign, and with the support of Pearson
SARL and Language Testing International, includes new data highlighting the vital need for language skills in the US workplace and their impact on the US economy.
“It is undeniable that STEM subjects have enjoyed a prominent place in today’s curriculum. The foreign language, unfortunately, is often treated as a competing discipline. The results of our survey highlight the need to recognize language skills around the world as a complementary and interdependent capability. We already know that language learning deepens our connections with other cultures, builds trust, strengthens decision-making and contributes greatly to national security; we also know that language skills are necessary to produce the globally skilled employees that American companies are looking for,” said Howie Berman, executive director of ACTFL. “This reality requires an education system that prepares graduates to master the languages they need to succeed in a 21st world economy of the century.
According to the report, a large majority of US employers say they rely on employees with non-English language skills to advance their business goals. Those who are unable to meet this need may find themselves lagging behind in the global marketplace.
Key findings of the report include:
American employers have a growing demand for multilingual employees.
Nine out of 10 US employers say they rely on US-based employees with language skills other than English.
A third (32%) of employers report a heavy reliance on language skills other than English.
A majority of employers say their need for foreign languages has increased over the past five years and expect it to continue to grow.
Languages in high demand also have the greatest shortages.
Spaniards, Chinese and Japanese are seeing the highest demand among US employers. Moreover, employers are the most likely to report shortages in these languages.
One-third (34%) of US employers who rely on foreign languages say their foreign language needs are currently not being met by their employees.
Foreign language skills impact employer outcomes.
Nearly one in four U.S. employers surveyed acknowledged losing or being unable to pursue a business opportunity due to a singular lack of foreign language skills.
The report also offers seven actionable recommendations that U.S. employers can implement to better recruit and retain a multilingual workforce, as well as to understand the implications of early language instruction on creating a stronger talent pool. strong future workers with language skills.
“We are thrilled to support ACTFL’s work to quantify the demand for multilingual employees in the United States and raise awareness of the importance of foreign language education,” said Andrew Gilfillan, Pearson vice president, Product. Management for the Humanities, Social Sciences, world languages and business. “At Pearson, our mission is to be a true partner in language learning for instructors and students by creating competency-based educational solutions for the 21st century classroom. Students are increasingly focused on how their education relates to employability, and the results of this survey unequivocally demonstrate the value of language education to the US economy.
ACTFL’s report details the results of a nationwide survey of 1,200 senior executives and human resource professionals knowledgeable about their organization’s foreign language needs. Public administration and government employers were excluded from this survey, as were employers with less than 10 employees.
To learn more and to download the report, go to https://www.leadwithlanguages.org/report.
About the ACTFL
The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) is the national association of language teaching professionals at all levels of education and representing all languages. With over 12,500 active members, ACTFL offers innovative professional development opportunities, recognized training and certification programs, and widely cited books, publications, scholarly journals, research studies, and language teaching resources, including Annals in foreign languages and The language teacher magazine. As part of its mission and vision, the organization provides advice to the profession and the general public on issues, policies and best practices related to the teaching and learning of languages and cultures. ACTFL is a leading national voice among language teachers and administrators and is driven by the responsibility to set standards and expectations that will result in high quality language programs.