A recent publication by the Committee on Economic Development titled Education for Global Leadership: The Importance of International Studies and Foreign Language Education for U.S. Economic and National Security, asserts that knowledge of foreign languages and world cultures is an economic necessity in order for U.S. to maintain its global competitiveness. The following data reflects the seriousness of critical language development in a global economy:
• U.S.-based multinational corporations employed 21.9 million workers in the United States in 2003, accounting for 1/5 of total U.S. non-government employment.
• American companies lose an estimated $2 billion a year due to inadequate cross-cultural guidance for their employees in multicultural situations.
• 30% of the companies cannot capitalize on their international business opportunities due to insufficient personnel with international skills.
• Without foreign language skills and cultural knowledge, businesses, especially smaller companies, face greater difficulty exporting to overseas markets;
• 80% of business leaders surveyed expected their overall business to increase notably if they had more internationally competent employees on staff.
• 40% of companies surveyed reported that their international sales are growing more rapidly than domestic sales and 60% expected that revenues from international markets continue to increase over the next decade.
• The average number of languages spoken by American business executives is 1.5 compared with an average of 3.9 languages spoken by business executives in European countries, 2.5 in Latin America and Asia.
Language-intensive careers include:
- area or regional specialist
- bilingual administrative professional
- elementary or secondary education teacher
- language and culture or English-as-a-second-language teacher
- language and literature professor
- language researcher
Career fields and occupations using languages include:
- administration of nongovernmental organizations
- advertising or marketing
- cultural advisement
- diplomatic and foreign service
- domestic or international business
- film, television or multimedia
- foreign correspondence or journalism
- government intelligence
- hotel and resort management
- international banking
- international education and study abroad
- international law
- social work