Perks of Learning a New Language

CareerJanuary 18, 2023 16:00

Have you ever considered picking up a new language, other than your native tongues? This may seem like an extremely daunting goal; you may be unsure whether you can commit to language classes on top of work and familial obligations.

In reality, the project of learning a new language in depth will stretch for several years and beyond. Merely wanting to travel to a far-flung country is probably not a good enough reason for you to hunch over grammar workbooks and memorise thousands of new words. But do you know that being multilingual can help you accelerate your career growth? Here are 4 professional perks of picking up a second or third language:

1. Increased Competitiveness in the Globalised World

In today’s globalised world, trade boundaries between countries are fast diminishing. The implications of globalisation on recruitment are immense: companies are no longer restricted to hiring employees from the country they are based in.

There is now a global talent pool, accentuated by the recent phenomenon of remote work. You are no longer only competing with top talent in Singapore; you are competing with top talent across the globe, so long as they have access to the Internet.

Hence, by being fluent in a second or third language, you can improve your employability and stay competitive in this global workforce. While English is the international language of business and commerce, multilingual jobseekers have a distinct edge over their counterparts.

2. Wide Range of Career Opportunities

Besides improving your employability, you unlock new opportunities for job advancement and international assignments with your multilingualism. More doors will be opened for you when you are proficient in an additional language such as Japanese.

For instance, Japanese companies which have established branches in Singapore will be more inclined to hire you over a non-Japanese speaking candidate with similar qualifications. As a Japanese speaker, you will also have a greater chance of being deployed to work at your company’s Japan headquarters. Moreover, if you eventually decide to migrate to Japan, you will be able to establish your career there without much difficulty.

3. Salary Premiums

Learning a new language like Japanese does pay, quite literally! Beyond landing your dream job, you can negotiate for a higher salary with your company if you possess relevant certifications such as the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) N1.

Reeracoen Singapore’s Salary Guide 2023 has indicated that candidates who are proficient in the Japanese language can receive salary premiums of up to 15%—across a plethora of industries. These premiums are not tied to any specific job functions or roles. In some exceptional cases, they can even cross 15%. Therefore, you can expect more attractive remuneration packages by being multilingual.

4. Enhanced Communication Skills and Job Performance

Language is the best introduction to a foreign culture. For example, when you learn Japanese, you deepen your understanding of Japanese culture as well. This enables you to easily navigate cross-cultural interactions with your colleagues and clients. Your enhanced communication skills will go a long way in fostering collaboration and building stronger relationships at work.

There are other cognitive benefits which you reap whilst picking up a new language. Simply put, your brain is trained to multitask—it has to toggle between listening, translating and speaking. This skill of “code-switching” is generally applicable to all disciplines. You may be able to multitask and solve problems more efficiently, thus boosting your performance on the job!


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