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

Gov. Nathan Deal signed H.B. 879 into law, 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 New American Economy research brief, “Language Diversity and the Workforce: The Growing Need for Bilingual Workers in Georgia’s Economy,” which shows 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 Georgia’s workforce among both foreign-born and U.S.-born workers.

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

  • There is increasing demand from Georgia employers for candidates who speak world languages. Between 2010 and 2014, online job postings in Georgia for bilingual candidates nearly doubled, from 2,668 to 4,900 postings. Demand also increased for the following world languages: Spanish (88.2 percent increase), German (79.8 percent increase), French (68.9 percent increase), and Chinese (52.2 percent increase).
  • In 2014, jobs for bilingual workers represented a significant share of online job postings at some of Georgia’s top employers. In 2014, jobs for bilingual workers represented more than half of the online job postings at Carquest (68.6%) and Rooms To Go (54.7%), a third of postings at Bank of America (32.5%), and more than one in ten at T Mobile (13.4%), Rent-A-Center (10.5%), and Wells Fargo (10.4%).
  • Between 2010 and 2014 postings for bilingual candidates increased across Georgia industries, including: Automotive Parts, Accessories, and Tire Stores (increased by 362%); Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (increased by 96%); Business Support Systems (increased by 41%); General Medical and Surgical Hospitals (increased by 35%); and Insurance Carriers (increased by 26%).

The legislation will take effect in time for the 2017-2018 school year. School district participation in the program is voluntary.

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