Foreign Languages and ‘Help Wanted:’ A Survey of Advertisements


  • Don P. Savell

  • Don P. Savell (M.A., University of Maryland) was instructor in German at Western Maryland College, Westminster, Md.; he is currently purchasing agent for a medium-sized corporation.


ABSTRACT  A survey of 360 ‘Positions Available’ advertisements in The Wall Street Journal shows that there is a demand in the business and commercial world for persons with business, technical, or scientific training who can speak one or more foreign languages. As salaries and perquisites rise, the requirements for training and experience also rise. The question is posed of how effectively foreign language programs can tie in with economics, science, or business programs. It is also noted that one specialist in personnel placement has stated that less than one in ten managerial, professional, and executive jobs is advertised. It is clear that persons with experience or training (and, in some cases, advanced degrees) in business, scientific, or technical fields may increase their desirability to a prospective employer if they can speak one or more foreign languages.