Speaking their language
Fluency in a foreign tongue makes a world of difference to employers. Roger Trapp reports
Wednesday 29 March 1995
Terry Benson, chief executive of Michael Page, said that an accountant with an international company in Brussels or Amsterdam or possibly even Paris might get by without languages. But they are increasingly expected of the young professional seeking advancement in global organisations.
To that extent, French and German are almost taken for granted. The real premium is on East European languages. Companies are prepared to pay 20 per cent more for candidates who can add fluency in Hungarian, Polish or Russian to an otherwise strong academic background, said Denis Waxman, managing director of Accountancy Personnel.
Caroline Stockdale, of Robert Walters, is not sure whether proficiency in languages would give a candidate the edge over a rival with a slightly better overall CV. But she is certain that if both academic backgrounds were the same, the multi-linguist would win out.
Some recruiters suggest that the expanding markets of the Far East are not necessarily fuelling a demand for people able to speak the languages of the region. Companies there are buying in particular skills, particularly from Australia and Britain, and "you do not have to speak a particular language", said Mr Waxman.
However, Ms Stockdale sees strong candidates with Mandarin or Cantonese as "extremely marketable". And it is not just commercial companies based in this country or abroad that are recruiting them.
In the past two to three years, she has detected management consulting firms not attached to the big accounting practices moving away from their reliance on MBAs to hire accountants. And with many of these firms - such as McKinsey & Co, Arthur D Little, Boston Consulting Group and Bain - having a global reach, languages obviously become important selection factors, she added.
But if linguistic ability is becoming almost as important as knowing how to interpret a balance sheet, there is little evidence of young accountants making strenuous efforts to improve themselves in this area. The ability to speak French or German has often been acquired at school or university. But, according to Mr Waxman, most of those who can speak Polish or Hungarian do so because of some family connection.
The message then would appear to be that all those young accountants who have signed up for information technology programmes should be attending foreign language courses, or at least playing a few instruction tapes in the company car. After all, as Ms Stockdale stressed: "Everybody wants languages, even McDonald's. You only have to look at where the expanding markets are."
Compare with the Independent: See how much you could save by switching credit cards. Compare now
How to get the best return from your cash
Make money as a mystery shopper
How to start your own internet business
Five ways to make money on the internet
The whole truth about legal fees: Conveyancing can knock a big hole in home-buyers' finances. To get the best deal you must cross-examine solicitors about their charges, says Sue Fieldman
- 1 Tony Benn meets Ali G: Watch Labour veteran burn Sacha Baron Cohen
- 2 Women do experience two different types of orgasm, study reveals
- 3 Tony Benn dead: Veteran Labour politician passes away at 88
- 4 Istanbul protesters take 'Ellen selfie' from the back of a police van
- 5 Gauthier Soho has ranted against 'food blaggers' - so can we really trust online reviews?
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
iJobs Money & Business
£35000 - £43000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Harrington Starr: A global lea...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Linux Systems Administrator - UNI...
£32000 - £36000 per annum + generous benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: * TAX * ...
£37000 - £40000 per annum + £20000 benefits package: Pro-Recruitment Group: **...
Day In a Page
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar
A newly refurbished one-bedroom flat in the heart of Mayfair, close to Grosvenor Square
A charming four-bedroom house overlooking Burleigh Square Park, close to Thorpe Bay
A three-bedroom farmhouse with a large inglenook fireplace and exposed beams
A boutique mews house, set around a central courtyard, with three bedrooms and a private roof terrace
A four-bedroom farm-conversion with three bathrooms and two reception rooms
A two-bedroom detached house with ensuite bathrooms and a sun-drenched decked terrace, £750,000
A modern and spacious two-bedroom, penthouse flat with two bathrooms in a prestigious development
A beautifully renovated five-bedroom terrace with three reception rooms and a courtyard garden, £700,000
A four-bedroom period house which has been extended to provide almost 2,500sq ft of living space, £675,000
A pretty three-bedroom Georgian home with a 22ft drawing room and a master suite with a balcony, £525,000
A substanstial family home with five bedrooms and landscaped gardens in the much sought-after Branksome Park area
A well-presented three-bedroom house with front and rear gardens, close to White City station, £475,000
A handsome five-bedroom house in a sought-after location close to the city centre
A five-bedroom country home with valley views, equestrian stables and 27 acres of land, £725,000
A six-bedroom farm house with separate, detached cottages and 371 acres of land
A two-bedroom cottage with parquet floors, chunky beams and an open fireplace
A three-bedrrom flat with 2,733sq feet of living space, a beautiful private garden and 15 acres of communal grounds
A four-bedroom chalet bungalow with three bathrooms and a spacious garden, £525,000
A two-bedroom flat with an open plan kitchen and two balconies, close to Arsenal station
A Grade II-listed home with six bedrooms, secluded landscaped gardens and views across Hadley Green
A Grade II-listed mansion with two apartments and a cottage, near Gretna Green
A three-bedroom Grade II-listed mews house with vaulted ceilings and roof garden