Archive for September, 2009

When you ask a lot of people what jobs languages can offer, you get a range of answers, but the majority will say “teacher” or “translator”. And I think that this is half the battle when it comes to encouraging young people to learn languages – they think “what’s the point?”

So when we worked with some students from Lambeth Academy, we came up with the top 10 jobs that most people don’t know you can do with a language, to highlight that languages can lead to exciting and well rewarded career opportunities. These are all jobs that our consultants have recruited for over the past few years (in no particular order!)

  • Video games tester – playing video games to test that they say the right words in the correct language
  • Private jet sales executive – selling private jets, or fractional ownership of them, to high net worth individuals across Europe
  • Football analyst – watching and analysing the latest European football matches and producing reports on the failures and successes of the team.  These are passed onto traders to aid investors in betting more successfully
  • International assignment manager – working for a large international company to help colleagues re-locate from country to country. You organise a place to live, schooling if there are any children involved, removals etc
  • Luxury yacht sales manager – Selling yearly memberships to “high net worth individuals “ who want to be charted on a route around the world on their private yacht and waited on by their own staff
  • Tour organiser – organising tours for pop bands around Europe, organising and booking venues and general diary and transport management
  • Art editor – editor and designer for a large internal magazine for a global bank
  • Journalist – uncovering the latest scoop on international financial trends and reporting on the information for a financial magazine
  • Press conference assistant – interpreting for Arsenal FC Manager Arsene Wenger and Jose Antonio Reyes for Champions League fixtures in Spain
  • Recruitment consultant – yes we had to get this in – you can work all over the world, recruiting people from all over the world into a range of sectors, from marketing to law, finance and IT

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From skyscraper to sausages

_46402711_sausage-manThe recession – it has affected different people in different ways. For some it’s been an opportunity to buy a house at a great price. But for others it has meant losing their jobs, and that’s what happened to Thomas Brause, an ex-trader from Frankfurt. We recently came across this story and thought we’d share it – it’s not your everyday career move!

When he was made redundant from his six figure salary job in December of last year, instead of harnessing his skills in a job paying around half his previous salary, Mr Brause decided to make a radical career change. He now sells Bratwurst on the street near his old office, from a converted bus he bought online. According to the BBC he said, “These are real things, not abstract things. You can touch them. I deliver something and I get something in return. It’s more satisfying…As soon as people get to management level they dream of this, and this was a dream of mine for a while because I was pretty fed up with my job too. The office politics was terrible.”

So it seems that this career move was a good one for Mr Brause – although he admits that he’s still stressed and works 14 hour days! So, if you’re not happy in your job or find yourself a victim of the downturn, be reassured that there is always another option.

However we can’t help but think that if he’d have used a recruiter he could have got some career advice and perhaps taken a slightly less drastic change in direction. If you’re job hunting but don’t like the idea of selling sausages, come and speak to Euro London!

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The CBI has caused controversy this week by announcing that University students should pay more for their loans and tuition fees. However an aspect of its report that has been lost amongst this debate is its advocacy of boosting language learning.

In the CBI’s press release, its Director-General Richard Lambert said, “Business should engage more with universities, both financially and intellectually. More firms should help design and pay for courses for the benefit of the current and future workforce, and more firms should offer students practical work experience. In return for this extra investment of time and money, business will want to see more emphasis given to certain subjects, such as science, technology, engineering and maths. Languages are also seen to be important, and the Task Force argues that more should be done to prepare students for the world of work, and teach them the generic skills that will help smooth their pathway into employment.”

According to the report, many companies have already committed to helping the cause, pledging to offer more internships and graduate positions. Although that’s a great start, is it enough? Can more emphasis be put on languages when it’s not even compulsory to study them at school? What could be done to better prepare students for the world of work? And how should companies help design academic courses? Let us know your thoughts.

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It seems that even in a recession, some companies are struggling to attract and retain talent – but not for the reasons you may think.

It makes sense that clients have become fussier in this tough economic climate (which reports suggest that we’re moving out of now – let’s hope they’re right.) With so many more candidates on the market, clients now have the upper hand and they want as much value as they can get. Whilst recruiting for trading / broking houses over the last few months, I’ve seen a growing trend for clients asking not just for professional and experienced candidates, but ones with their own transferable client lists. Because that way the candidate can hit the ground running and start generating revenue as soon as possible, can’t they?

Well, it’s not proving to be that straightforward. The problem seems to be that many agency brokers don’t have an in-house research department – a service that will look at market trends, what people are investing in, market prices and publishing research and advice on issues in this area. But many companies want just that – an agency that offers a full brokerage service. I recently had one candidate who was offered a job in this area and had their own client list that they could use in their new position. After talking to their clients about the new company, many were not happy that they wouldn’t be working with a company with its own in-house research department that could offer the fully incorporated package. Although the candidate ticked all the right boxes for the job, their new employer didn’t meet the criteria required by the candidate’s clients. Despite being offered above average commission and bonuses, the candidate ended up declining the position.

Organisations may think that financial rewards are enough to retain talent in a recession but it seems that this remains a secondary concern. The bottom line is without the best service offering, companies are losing out on the best talent – and with talk about the upturn increasing, this is something that they cannot afford to do.

 Entry by Maurice Christie of the Euro London banking and finance team

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Bad translations

I recently came across the Telegraph’s ‘Sign Language’ gallery – some perfect examples of translation gone terribly wrong and why it’s so important to know a language well. There are 65 weeks worth of these so I have picked some of the best ones!

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Why learn a language?

We are always going on about how many opportunities learning languages can provide and it seems that more people are catching on to the benefits of having this skill on their CVs. Saint George International (SGI), the language training specialists, saw a big increase in the uptake of foreign language courses in the UK over the first half of 2009, as people turned to languages to put them a step ahead of other job seekers in this competitive job market. This got us thinking what the top reasons for learning a language are, so here are ours:

  • Cultural understanding – when you learn a language, you learn so much more than vocabulary and grammar. You get a feel for the country, its practices and its people, which is crucial when doing business on an international scale.
  • A for effort – yes English may be considered the lingua franca, but your customers or potential customers will see you as so much more professional if you are able to converse with them in their own language. Even if you just manage a ‘hello’ it shows that you’ve made the effort.
  • Opportunities – the world is your oyster with a language or two under your belt. Not only does it provide opportunities to take a range of interesting positions abroad, it could open the door to a promotion or new job opportunity here in the UK.
  • Be wise – your new international business partner may be willing to talk to you in English, but what about when they’re talking to their colleagues? If you’re in a meeting and not able to understand everything that’s being said, can you be sure that you’ll be happy with the outcome?

What have your experiences been?

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Best paid city?


Need some more money in your bank account? It’s not surprising according to a recent UBS survey on the highest paid workers in Europe, which shows that London has slipped into 21st place, when only three years ago it occupied the number two spot. “The falling pound has made London employees for multinational companies around 25% cheaper in the first half of 2009 than they were three years ago” according to Forbes.

However if you’re after a higher paid job, pay a visit to our Swiss office – the two best paid cities in Europe are Zurich and Geneva, in first and second position respectively. Workers in Zurich earn an average of $22.60 per hour, compared to a poor $2.40 in Kiev, which equates to being able to buy an IPod Nano in nine hours compared to eighty two – quite a shocking statistic.

It’s good to know that four of the top ten locations are also home to Euro London offices – Zurich, Luxembourg, Munich and Frankfurt. The survey also looks at number of days holiday, tax and wages in over 70 countries worldwide, although all figures are quoted in US dollars. For a full copy of the ‘Price and Earnings’ report, click here – it makes an interesting read.

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