According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than half of the total U.S. population growth between 2000 and 2010 was due to the increase in the Hispanic population. From 1980-2007, the percentage of people whose first language is not English grew by 140 percent, while the nation's overall population grew by 34 percent.
As these segments of the population continue to grow at staggering rates, the bilingual workforce will need to grow with them. Bilingual employees have long been in demand in education and sales, but now virtually all job sectors including retirement, marketing and health care need bilingual workers.
Here are six examples of jobs for bilingual workers:
- Bank teller: As a bank teller, you handle monetary transactions for customers of all languages using different currencies. You're also responsible for educating customers about their financial options, so the ability to effectively communicate with non-English speakers is a big advantage. Median annual pay: $24,100*
- Customer-service representative: Customer-service representatives help people find information or solve problems. Bilingual reps are attractive to employers, because speaking multiple languages allows you to do your job more efficiently and help a larger group of customers.
Median annual pay: $30,460
- Marketing/advertising/promotions manager: According to Ad Age, U.S. Hispanic media spending continues to grow faster than general market media every year, up 4.6 percent in 2011, compared with 1.1 percent for all U.S. media. According to a 2012 report from the Association of National Advertisers, 88 percent of U.S. marketers say they are targeting Hispanic customers via digital media platforms. As more marketing resources are devoted to reaching the Hispanic population, the demand for Spanish-speaking marketers will only grow.
Median annual pay: $108,260
- Police/detective: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, police and detective jobs in state and federal agencies are more competitive than positions in local departments. They'll continue to remain that way, since they often offer high pay and more promotion and transfer opportunities. The BLS notes that bilingual job seekers with a bachelor's degree and law enforcement or military experience should have the best opportunities in federal agencies.
Median annual pay: $55,010
- Human-resources specialist: By 2020, Latinos are expected to comprise 19 percent of the U.S. labor force, according to the Labor Department. To help with multicultural recruitment needs, more companies are hiring bilingual recruiters and human-resources professionals to help find qualified candidates and assist them with their employment transitions.
Median annual pay: $52,690
- Social worker: Social workers often deal with sensitive situations, including substance abuse, mental illness and child-care negligence. Therefore, the fewer language barriers there are between the workers and their clients, the smoother and more effective the interactions will be.
Median annual pay: $42,480
Median annual pay figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; pay figures cover all workers in the occupation (not just bilingual).