QCOSTARICA – In today’s interconnected world, having bilingual skills is becoming super valuable. Companies everywhere are looking to expand into global markets and build strong connections with people from different cultures, and they need people who can communicate in multiple languages.
According to reports from the Costa Rican Coalition of Development Initiatives (CINDE), in 2022 over 22,000 new jobs were created and, as of March 2023, another 3,500 jobs opened up that required bilingualism. And in 2022, Costa Rica was ranked 37th of a total 111 countries in the world for English proficiency – second in Latin America, followed by Cuba, Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile – according to the EF English Proficiency Index.
Given this reality, the issue of bilingualism becomes relevant and promotes a strategic value within companies that are or start operations in Costa Rica, since they seek that their collaborators can communicate in different languages and adapt to the changing needs of the global market.
- Globalization: Globalization has led to an increase in trade and commercial relations between countries of different languages and cultures. As a result, there is a greater need for professionals who can communicate with people from different parts of the world in their native language.
- Labor competence: bilingual professionals have the competitive advantage that they can communicate with a broader and more diverse audience, standing out from others who only speak one language.
- Internationalization of companies: companies around the world are expanding with branches and subsidiaries in different countries, requiring people who can serve these markets and with the ability to interact seamlessly with the organization and customers.
- Increased Demand for Services: As the population becomes increasingly diverse, there is an increased demand for services in different languages. Bilingual professionals are essential in sectors such as technology, health, services, education, social and government services, where communication with people of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds is required.
“A country that graduates professionals with a second language strengthens its economy, by being able to communicate effectively with international companies and clients. This can lead to increased business opportunities and therefore increased exports, foreign investment and jobs. At ULACIT, we are proud to be the only bilingual university in the country and to contribute to the fact that more than five thousand of our students have benefited from our teaching format and are now professionals in a globalized environment”, added Núñez.
The expert has noticed that Costa Rica has made strides in language management, but there’s a big demand for professionals which recruiters have been struggling to fill. This has led to a whopping 71% talent shortage – 7 out of 10 employers – as per the Manpower Group’s survey on Q2 2023 hiring expectations, making it essential that public and private institutions prioritize quality training that caters to the current labor force needs and development in order to make the country more competitive and provide better job opportunities for the younger generations.
“Globalization has accelerated this demand to be bilingual or trilingual, since there are new types of companies that allow you to work from anywhere in the world. Therefore, the solution to meet these needs is to teach quality English from preschool. Today, the labor market is pointing to multilingualism, so at ULACIT we are working, in the short term, to incorporate a third language into our study plans,” Núñez concluded.