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  1. Labour market intelligence The current job market for graduates with languages and intercultural skills

  2. Research report published Labour Market Intelligence on Languages and Intercultural Skills in Higher Education Authors: Sean Mulkerne, Anne Marie Graham Published by UCML: June 2011

  3. Purpose of the research The research aimed to establish • The level of demand for various languages • The sectors where languages are required • Skills that are required in addition to languages and intercultural skills

  4. Research methodology • Tracking and analysis of job postings on major employment websites • Survey of recruitment agencies • Interviews with employers in a variety of sectors

  5. Languages requested The five languages most in demand from employers are (in order of popularity): • French • German • Spanish • Italian • Dutch

  6. Languages requested (2) Russian, Mandarin, Arabic, Japanese also popular The total range of languages requested in less than two months was extensive – over 25 languages Up to 4% of all vacancies advertised online required skills in another language

  7. Where is the demand? The sector most likely to request language skills was Sales & Trading Other sectors: • Finance • IT & Technology • Administrative • Project management

  8. Where is the demand? (2) The majority of jobs were in London and the South East Other pockets of activity in major commercial regions of the North West and the Midlands Many vacancies are available outside of the UK

  9. Language expertise required Employers are looking for advanced foreign language skills that can be applied in a business context Highly competent linguists but not necessarily translators or interpreters

  10. Languages – but not in isolation Languages are an important part of the overall skills package – valued alongside: • the ability to communicate with colleagues and clients • teamworking • leadership skills

  11. Added value of languages Graduates with language skills were perceived as having relationship management and intercultural awareness These ‘added value’ skills give graduates with languages the ability to • work in a diverse team • understand other cultures

  12. Added value of languages (2) Employers value language skills in graduates because: They suggest an ability to learn new skills and adapt to new surroundings They are generally associated with valuable international experience

  13. Economic benefits of languages English is not enough • 75% of the world’s population do not speak English • English accounts for only 29% of language use on the internet

  14. Economic benefits of languages (2) • UK only holds a trade surplus with other English speaking countries • Where we do not speak the same language, we buy more than we sell • Export businesses that proactively use languages achieve on average 45% more sales

  15. Economic benefits of languages (3) • Underinvestment in language skills amounts to a 3-7% tax on British exports (Prof. J. Foreman-Peck, Cardiff Business School) • Current cost estimated at 0.5-1.2% GDP • Lack of language skills dissuades businesses from entering new markets (CBI 2010)

  16. Economic benefits of languages (4) Multinationals and SMEs all need languages – only 27% of employers have no need for languages (CBI 2011) Employers are not always explicit about their language needs – they see languages as part of a wider skills package Graduates with a language and international experience will have ‘an edge’

  17. “Learning a foreign language not only enables people to interact but it also provides an insight and understanding into different customs and cultures. Over half of our trade is with other countries in the European Union, and most of it is in countries where English is not the first language. [Language] learning is vital to the continued success of British business” Roland Rudd, Chairman, Business for New Europe

  18. Supply of language skills • Languages are optional in 4 out of 5 maintained schools • In the majority (over 60%) of schools, less than 50% of pupils study a language in Key Stage 4 • In 2009/10, 2.5% of university students were studying a language

  19. Conclusions – the skills gap Demand outstrips supply for language skills Where employers can’t find language skills in the graduate population, they are forced to recruit from overseas UK graduates’ competitiveness on the global market is hampered

  20. Conclusions – the value of languages in higher education The introduction of higher tuition fees in 2012/13 increases the need for value for money from higher education courses Language study, and the related knowledge, intercultural competence and employability skills it develops, offers a good return on undergraduate investment

  21. Conclusions - the value of languages in higher education (2) “If higher education is expected to produce more international and employable graduates across all disciplines, then the research shows that language and intercultural skills will contribute to the development of this calibre of graduate.” Labour Market Intelligence on Languages & Intercultural Skills in Higher Education (UCML, 2011)

  22. Conclusions - employability Languages and intercultural skills are still in high demand from a wide range of employers Active language skills, that can be applied in a real-life context, are particularly valuable Employers place a high value on a period of study or work abroad

  23. Conclusions – which languages? The languages most in demand are those of our biggest trading partners in Europe We are teaching the right languages, but we need to expand the range and number of languages we teach, and the numbers of students acquiring those languages

  24. “Languages continue to be critical to the success of the UK, and we are indeed still learning the right languages. However, the numbers of those learning languages must be increased to ensure the continued demand can be met” Labour Market Intelligence on Languages & Intercultural Skills in Higher Education (UCML, 2011)

  25. Recommendations - research • Track the job market every two years • Extend the analysis of employment websites and continue to compare the percentage of jobs available for graduate linguists • 3 month minimum period for research • Commission research into trends in particular languages

  26. Recommendations - HEIs • Work across institutions to integrate languages in employability and internationalisation strategies • Encourage graduates to demonstrate the value of languages and related skills on job applications, even if demand for language skills is not made explicit by the recruiter

  27. Recommendations – HE community • Continue to track HESA data to measure trends in graduates studying language skills • Higher education to work with business to further develop key messages about the value of languages and intercultural skills