Bilingual Demand: The Search for Spanish-Speaking Workers

Are you adding “se habla español” to your job descriptions for the remainder of 2007 and 2008? If you’re like half of all hiring managers who participated in a new survey, the answer is a resounding “claro que si!”

A recent survey of 2,417 U.S. hiring managers and human resource professionals suggests that Spanish-speaking job candidates will be in especially high demand by employers within the next year.

The survey was conducted by, which is focused on the online job search for the Hispanic community. It found that 48% of hiring managers are hiring Spanish-speaking job candidates in 2007 and 2008.

When asked which segment of diverse workers they will be looking to hire, a good number say they plan to target Hispanic workers more aggressively in 2007 and 2008.

“With the Hispanic population growing in number and buying power, nearly three-in-ten hiring managers say they are placing a greater emphasis this year and on into next year on finding employees who can relate to this target audience,” says Jesse Caballero, senior career advisor for

Who’s Hiring?

The desire to add bilingual candidates is certainly evident in countless industries and across many departments.

According to Manuel Boado, CEO of New York-based search firm Spanusa, financial institutions, private banks that have a presence in Latin America, the insurance industry, and every company that is in consumer products is interested in Spanish-speaking professionals.

Also, in education, school districts are trying to attract more bilingual teachers.

For example, the West Valley City, Utah, school district hired 10 teachers from Mexico as part of an agreement between Utah and the Mexican Ministry of Education.

Under Utah’s visiting teacher program, these teachers receive salary and benefits commensurate with Utah teachers, and they can work legally in “high-need” public schools for up to three years.

Bilingual Workers: The Silver Lining in Real Estate?

Michigan-based mortgage lender Shore Mortgage says it will hire 150 new workers within six months, including underwriters, account executives, and loan officers.

The company’s website, in fact, leads off with a “call to action” for finding workers. The company says it is especially focused on bilingual candidates for its four Detroit-area locations (Birmingham, Roseville, Taylor, and Canton Township).

Shore Mortgage’s president, Robert Rahal, explains that his company is doing well, despite the mortgage meltdown, because the company focuses on government-assistance lending, such as more stable FHA loans.

In a similar scenario, Casa Latino, a year-old real-estate franchise system, says it will open dozens of offices in both Los Angeles and Orange counties.

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Casa Latino’s chief executive officer Robb Heering says he expects a minimum of 100 offices in California alone within the next 24 months. Despite this being one of the worst real estate markets in recent history, Heering cites his company’s growth due to other companies having “missed the mark” when it comes to what many call the emerging market.

“Hiring a few bilingual professionals and translating literature from English to Spanish isn’t going to do much to impress America’s Latino market,” he says.

Bilingual Job Fairs

Across other industries, bilingual job fairs are being used to reach out to candidates.

A job fair being held October 3 at New Bedford, Massachusetts-based Sovereign Bank is intended to find applicants to fill 35 customer-service positions. The bank says it is interested in hiring those who speak both English and Spanish.

And the National Society for Hispanic Professionals is hosting a diversity job fair in San Diego on October 18, while is holding an executive diversity career fair October 23 in Alexandria, Virginia.

Sponsored by UBS, participating companies at the CareerJournal event include Smith Barney, Eli Lilly, Fitch Rating, Coventry Healthcare, Target, and T-Mobile, among others.

On November 1, a bilingual job fair at the Charlotte Merchandise Mart in Charlotte, North Carolina, will connect employers looking for qualified workers and candidates who can speak both Spanish and English.

This is the second bilingual job fair in the area, and event coordinator Mylene Duffy says companies want to offer their products and services to the community but are lacking enough Spanish-speaking workers.

When you do fill enough positions with the sought-after bilingual candidates, , a niche job board for bilingual professionals, has some advice for companies.

The job board advises that hiring bilingual HR personnel is a “huge benefit” when communicating important or technical information with workers who primarily speak Spanish.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.