America's growing Hispanic community is creating greater demand than ever for employees who can speak both English and Spanish. According to the 2011 U.S. Census, 16.7 percent of Americans are now of Hispanic origin and that number is rapidly increasing. One survey found that almost half of employers are looking for Spanish-speaking candidates. The growing importance of this target market plus the population shift make it a perfect time to emphasize your bilingual abilities, especially in select industries.
A current shortage in bilingual teachers who can work with English-language learners in the U.S. school system makes this profession ideal for Spanish-English speakers. According to the Urban Teacher Collective, bilingual teachers are in demand, at 67.5 percent, followed by ESL teachers, 60 percent, at the elementary level. ESL or bilingual education certification is required by all but twelve states in the U.S. This certification provides instruction in linguistics, cultural diversity, and pedagogy. Check your local college or university to see if they have a TOESL program. Bilingual education programs are less common and are most commonly found in Texas, New York, or California. A fluent second language, such as Spanish, is required as is an undergraduate degree.
Private banks that do business in Latin America are in need of Spanish-speaking employees. Although consultants were hired in the past to deal with international business, an increased interest in the area has motivated hiring managers to bring employees in-house. These employees not only communicate in the client's native language but hopefully bring a measure of cultural understanding to the conversation. Many international business deals fail due to culture clash, and bilingual speakers may be relied upon to prevent any misunderstandings. They may also be asked to provide strategy to enter new markets and how to promote financial services to new populations of clients.
While the housing market may have taken a hit, the real estate industry is still hiring bilingual candidates to cater to the Hispanic population. Within the United States, areas with a higher proportion of Spanish speakers, especially California, Texas, Florida, and Arizona, are particularly ripe for bilingual candidates looking to break into real estate. In California, one-third of the population is Spanish speaking. For example, Casa Latino, a real estate franchise company, is opening dozens of offices in California to meet the needs of Hispanic clients. The company expects to have over 100 offices in the near future. Real estate licensing requirements vary by state in terms of how much education is required and the difficulty level of examinations. Real estate is generally a more accessible career path as it does not require undergraduate education, though some college courses may be necessary.
Companies are increasingly interested in hiring customer-service representatives that cater to the Hispanic market. In fact, job fairs specifically tailored to hiring bilingual candidates for customer rep jobs are becoming more popular. A variety of industries, including insurance, credit, medical, and telecommunications, are advertising for bilingual customer-service reps. The customer-service industry is highly accessible as it usually only requires a high school diploma, doesn't require experience, and provides training. Basic computer and communication skills are a must. Most representatives work in call centers or in-house and make on average $14.64 per hour in the United States.
- United States Census Bureau: State & Country Quick Facts
- Ere.net: Bilingual Demand, The Search for Spanish-Speaking Workers
- National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education: An Overview of the Preparation and Certification of Teachers Working with Limited English Proficient (LEP) Students
- Business Finance Store: The Benefits of Hiring Bilingual Employees
- Mortgage News Daily: Real Estate License
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Customer Service Representatives
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