Language Diversity and the Workforce: The Growing Need for Bilingual Workers in Arizona’s Economy

Gov. Doug Ducey (R-AZ) has signed into law [[H.B. XX]], establishing a Seal of Biliteracy program to recognize high school graduates who have attained proficiency in at least one language in addition to English.

The bill’s passage coincides with the release of a Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE) research brief, “Language Diversity and the Workforce: The Growing Need for Bilingual Workers in Arizona’s Economy” that illustrates growing demand for bilingual talent from some of the state’s biggest industries and employers. Analyzing online job posting data acquired by Burning Glass Technologies, the research illuminates the need to attract and promote language diversity in Arizona’s workforce among both foreign-born and U.S.-born workers.

Language Diversity and the Workforce: The Growing Need for Bilingual Workers in Arizona’s Economy finds:

  • There is increasing demand from Arizona employers for candidates who speak world languages. Between 2010 and 2014, online job postings in Arizona for bilingual candidates increased by 60.3 percent, from 4,211 to 6,751 postings. Demand for Spanish-speaking workers more than doubled, from 5,873 to 11,990 postings.
  • In 2014, jobs for bilingual workers represented a significant share of online job postings at some of Arizona’s top employers. In 2014, jobs for bilingual workers represented more than one in four job postings at Bank of America (32.32%) and Rent-A-Center (32.37%), and more than one in ten jobs at Maricopa Integrated Health (12.55%), Midfirst Bank (12.57%), and State Farm Insurance Companies (14.64%).
  • Between 2010 and 2014 postings for bilingual candidates increased in many key industries, including: Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (485.2% increase); Business Support Services (209.7% increase); Consumer Goods Rental (198.8% increase); Elementary and Secondary Schools (115.5% increase); Insurance Carriers (111.2% increase); General Medical and Surgical Hospitals (75.9% increase); Individual and Family Services (58.9% increase); and Depository Credit Intermediation (30.4% increase).

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