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

This week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie approved a statewide Seal of Biliteracy, an award given by the school system to students who have attained a high level of proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation.

The bill’s passage coincides with the release of a NAE research brief, “Language Diversity and the Workforce: The Growing Need for Bilingual Workers in New Jersey’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 the Garden State’s workforce among both foreign-born and U.S.-born workers.

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

New Jersey employers increasingly demand candidates who speak multiple languages.

  • Between 2010 and 2014, online job postings in New Jersey showed increased demand for proficiency in German (53.2%), Chinese (20.6%), Spanish (20.3%), and a slight increase for French (0.4%).
  • Between 2010 and 2014, there was a net increase of nearly 3,000 online job postings seeking candidates proficient in Spanish.

At several of the state’s top employers, at least 1 in 5 online job postings are for bilingual talent.

  • In 2014, jobs for bilingual workers represented at least 1 in 5 of the overall postings at the following companies: State Farm Insurance Companies (24.5%), Rent-A-Center (24.1%), H&R Block (22.3%), Bank of America (19.9%), and Crossmark, Inc. (21.5%).

In 2014, New Jersey’s biggest industries had thousands of online job postings for bilingual workers.

  • There were over 3,500 online job postings for bilingual workers across New Jersey’s top ten industries, which include Finance and Insurance (1,167), Health Care and Social Assistance (519), Retail Trade (372), and Educational Services (301).

Read the full report here.

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