It pays BIG to be bilingual!

Being Bilingual Pays…..BIG. And keeps you young!

Nowadays, successful, business executives in the U.S. come from all

walks of life and educational backgrounds. You would be hard pressed

to find two that share the same working experience. However, there is

one characteristic that unites them all: They are ALL bilingual, and

in most cases, multilingual.

Being Bilingual is Big Business

According to Laura Morsch at, two-thirds of the

most prosperous and noteworthy business executives in the United

States speak more than one language. Here’s a breakdown:

  • 31% of executives speak two languages

  • 20% speak three languages

  • 9% speak four languages

  • 4% speak more than four languages

In their attempt to increase profits and revenue, employers are

actively seeking out bilingual workers. A recent

keyword search generated results of more than 6,000 job postings

specifically seeking bilingual applicants.

The Latino Purchasing Market

Employees who are proficient in both English and Spanish are in high

demand. According to the U.S. Census Bureau conducted in 2001, Latinos

are the nation’s largest minority group and account for half of the

nation’s population growth. That is a lot of buying power. In fact,

Hispanic buying power reached nearly $700 billion in 2000

(HispanTelligence, Hispanic Business, Inc.). This buying power could

reach $1 trillion in 2015.

The Financial Benefits of Being Bilingual

In order to tap into this purchasing power, employers are willing to

pay big. According to, a bilingual employee will earn

between 5 and 20 percent more per hour.

Here are some examples:

  • According to the state’s Department of Personnel Administration Website, government workers in California who hold bilingual positions earn an extra $.58 more an hour.

  • In Oregon, employees in bilingual positions who spend 15-20 percent of

their time in use of their bilingual skills earn an extra $30 per pay


  • Federal government employees are also seeing the benefit of being

bilingual. Under a provision of the 2005 Defense Authorization Act,

bilingual active-duty military personnel receive a monthly proficiency

pay of $1,000 while civilians may earn pay up to 5 percent of their

base salary.

According to a recent Freakonomics podcast: “Is Learning a Foreign

Language Really Worth It?”, bilingual English-speaking Americans

should expect to earn on average $600 more than employes who speak

only one language. While it may not seem like much, The Economist

Magazine suggests that even small language bonuses will eventually add

up over time.

        “Supposing you only earn a 2 percent language

        bonus on your salary, you easily stand to earn

        an additional $25,000 during your career (likely

        more with salary increases).”

        -The Economist Magazine

The bottom line: Being bilingual quite literally pays.

A Healthier Life

While knowing another language can open doors and pad your wallet,

its by far not the only benefit it provides. It can also provide you

with a healthy brain and a long life, giving you plenty of time to

enjoy your increased wealth.

Protects against Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Recent research has indicated that adults who speak two or more

languages experience the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia at a later

age than adults who only speak one language. Astonishingly, this

advantage extends to adults who only knew how to speak (not read or

write) another language.

(“Why Bilinguals Are Smarter, Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, 2012).

Improves your memory and attention span

Finally, knowing another language has an amazing effect on one’s

attention span and memory. According to a study conducted by

Northwestern University in 2012, “knowing multiple languages forces

your brain to pay attention to relevant sounds, while blocking out

irrelevant sounds.”

This study provided the first scientific evidence that being bilingual

improves your hearing and helps with attention span and working


In summary, language has the power to increase your earning potential

while setting you up for a long and healthy life!

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Frontiers Academy - Advanced Academic Language Immersion School