Why the Change in Language Focus for Employers?
For centuries Britain’s businesses have plied their trade overseas, leading what is often said to be the first stage of globalisation back in the 18th century. Throughout the 20th century and up until the present day however, most analysts agree that Britain has been overly dependant on its European neighbours as the main source of income, exchanging capital and exports at an astonishing rate, mainly within the boundaries of the EU.
The UK’s biggest trade partners are by far the US (£31.7bn), Germany (£27.5bn) and France (£18.9bn) and a whopping 78.5% of exports to our top 20 biggest trade partners are within Europe.
This has naturally meant that Britain’s requirement for language speakers has remained focussed on the Western European tongues, consolidating our trade focus to our immediate neighbours.
But during the latter half of last year and the beginning of 2012, the focus for the recruitment of language speakers has shifted somewhat. Recruiters across the board, but specifically within specialist language agencies such as ABL has reported significant growth in demand for speakers of Mandarin and Russian as well as Latin American Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese.
This suggests that UK businesses are finally waking up to the fact that the future prosperity of the British economy depends on these new areas for development which could potentially boost UK exports significantly. It is already happening; last year British exports to India grew a whopping 44.9%, to Russia 43.1% and to China by 20.8%.
This is partly down to the invaluable work of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, whose staff are tirelessly plugging Britain’s offer across the globe, but also down to the pioneering UK businesses of the private sector that are seeking to broaden Britain’s Business horizons abroad and to rebalance the export focus away from Europe.