Magazine article Management Review

Businesses Learn to Speak in Tongue

Magazine article Management Review

Businesses Learn to Speak in Tongue

Article excerpt

BUSINESSES LEARN TO SPEAK IN TONGUE

Corporate execs had it comparatively easy in the '80s; the only foreign language they needed was the language of the PC. But in the '90s, they will have to learn to speak in foreign tongues. According to an Accountemps survey of Fortune 1000 companies, knowledge of a foreign language is essential to keep pace in today's global market. Vice presidents and personnel directors of 100 companies surveyed by Accountemps, the San Francisco-based temporary employment service, revealed which foreign language they deemed vital for a successful business career in the next 20 years:

Spanish 44 percent

Japanese 33 percent

        French    8 percent
        Chinese   6 percent
        German    5 percent
        Russian   1 percent

With global trades barriers continuing to fall, "the relatively low priority placed on studying French, Chinese, German and Russian was unexpected," according to Accountemps chairman Max Messmer. Although Japan has emerged as a world power, the Soviet Union and China can hardly be considered featherweight contenders, despite the survey results. Perhaps an explanation lies in the methodology of the survey: Executives offered their personal preferences. …

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