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Employability: people with bilingual skills are likely to be more employable.

FACT

  • People in Wales strongly believe that the workforce needs to be bilingual.
  • Many job advertisements specify the Welsh language as a specific requirement.
  • Studies in Wales and Catalonia have shown that the probability of being employed increases between 3 and 5 percentage points if individuals know how to read and write in two languages.
  • In the current economic climate, having an extra skill to offer may certainly make you more attractive to the employer.

EVIDENCE

  • In a Welsh Language Survey Report, 71% agreed that being bilingual was a help in the Job Market.
  • Over a three month period, 56% of 40 job advertisements analysed included language requirements, 21 (52.5%) stated that Welsh was desirable and 19 (47.5%) that Welsh was essential.
  • Employers in Wales place a great deal of importance on bilingual skills, according to jobcymru research. When 300 employers in Ceredigion, Powys and Meirionnydd were recently asked about their skills requirements and needs, 70% of them replied that they ideally wanted people who could offer bilingualism as a work skill for some of the positions in their companies.

EMPLOYER FEEDBACK

“An additional language can be an enormous personal and professional benefit. We actively seek Welsh speaking staff and encourage our staff to learn the language. Since we are a member of the Welsh business community, it is essential to meeting our customer needs. I would highly recommend bilingual education to any young person, as in my experience as an employer, an additional language gives job applicants the edge.”
Alison Inker, Manager Vidal Sassoon, Cardiff

“Being bilingual is an advantage to getting employed in Wales today. The Council’s policy is that we only appoint employees to our Call Centres and Customer Centres who can speak Welsh and English. It is important that those who answer the phone and deal with queries face to face with the public can speak their preferred language”
Llinos Evans, Policy and Partnership Officer, Carmarthenshire County Council

“Employees would have to study on a Welsh medium or bilingual course before coming to work for us. 80% of our corporate work is done in Welsh.”
Owain Bebb & Company, Accountants

Sources: The Catalan Premium: Language and Employment in Catalonia, Silvio Rendon, 2003
The Welsh Language and Labour Market Inactivity, David Blackaby et al., 2006.
State of the Welsh Language Survey Report, Beaufort, 2000
(Welsh and non-Welsh speakers were questioned).
Report on the Welsh Language Board Checking Exercise – Official Notices and Recruitment 2010
The Way Ahead, Information Pack for Teachers, Menter Bro Dinefwr 2008 

The Welsh Language Board with the help of Careers Wales commissioned Trywydd Cyf to carry out research on how being bilingual could give you the edge.

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