Being bilingual or even polyglot pays off in many ways. First of all, there are the indirect benefits of speaking more than one language. We already talked about the positive effects like better attention, memory and multitasking capabilities when you are bilingual.
If you think about it, these are all the skills you need in today’s workplace. Hence, even if you are not using your second language in your daily work, the positive effects on your brain will naturally make you a better worker. Subsequently, this will probably lead to better jobs with higher salary and it will also lower the risk of losing your job as skilled and well performing employees aren’t the first ones to be let go.
For example, a study by the University of Guelph in Canada (2010) found that
The reason bilingual employees are often paid more even though they may not actually be using their language skills could be that these skills indicate other marketable qualities […]
In light of the limited demand for French in the marketplace in English Canada, a possible interpretation for why bilingual employees tend to earn more money than unilingual employees is that second-language skills may indicate those individuals are stronger in unmeasured labour market characteristics such as ability, cognition, perseverance and quality education. These unmeasured characteristics can potentially have a bearing on labour productivity and increase the wages of bilingual individuals.
In the United States bilinguals are paid 5% to 20% above the base payment of the position on average. Active-duty military personnel can earn up to $1000 in proficiency pay per month and according to a study by the University of Florida (2000), bilingual Hispanics in Miami earned up to $7000 more per year.
About the same is true for Wales where employees who speak English and Welsh earn between 8% to 10% more than those who only speak English.
So there you have it. Speaking more than one language really pays off, literally.
Via: Voxy Blog