When working in English rhymes with big salaries

When working in English rhymes with big salaries


Speaking French and English, but also only English, at work generally pays more in Quebec than speaking only French. This is the finding of a study that has just been published. 

“It's insulting and downright unacceptable to see that the person who uses only English in Quebec earns more than the person who uses only French,” says Jean-Paul Perreault, president of Impératif français. , an organization for the defense and promotion of French.

According to the study, conducted by the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) based on 2016 census data, people who use only English at work earn an average of $46,047 per year, or $20  % more than the average income of $38,346 for those who use only French.

Wealthy leaders

Jean-Pierre Corbeil, professor of sociology at Laval University, explains that there are, in the population that speaks only English at work, “a lot of poor immigrant workers, but also very rich people”. 

And it is the latter who pull the average upwards, according to François Vaillancourt,— professor of economics at the University of Montreal. 

The presence at the top of the pyramid of these unilingual Anglophones, scientists or business people, has a ripple effect on lower positions.

“ For example, you have the new CEO of CN, who does not yet fully master French, but who will learn it, illustrates Mr. Vaillancourt. When she goes to look for a v.-p., she will say to herself, for example, “the best we have in the gang operated in the West, we will bring him back to  Montreal”.

< p>This logic means that other unilinguals find themselves in management positions and impose English on their subordinates. 

According to Mr. Perreault, these positions should require French . 

“When you appoint CEOs, executives and managers who don't know French, it's an incredible irresponsibility,” he protests.  

Improve your spell

At the downtown Montreal YMCA, several French-speaking workers like Manoelle Maspndy come to learn English. Formerly an administrative assistant, the mother wants to reorient herself in the management of human resources. Most of the ads she sees ask for English. 

Mark Grenon has been an English teacher for 13 years. In his experience, if people want to have a good career in Quebec, they need English. Many Francophone immigrants are even surprised, he notes. It is to stand out in the job market that they take courses at the YMCA.

In addition to the gap between the use of French and English at work, the study shows the significant advantage of speaking both languages. In this case, the average employment income achieved is the highest, namely $51,294. 

Common, bilingualism

In 2015, more than 40% of the Quebec population made regular use of English at work.

” A phenomenon that has been growing for ten years “, says Jean-Pierre Corbeil. 

In this context, the sociologist perceives an issue for the preservation of French and believes that ”  there is a need to intervene to raise awareness and promote the importance of having French as your first working language”.

For François Vaillancourt, it is necessary to be “very demanding on the use of French in the domestic market”.  

Even in Bellechasse 

International clients, colleagues recently arrived in Quebec who do not speak French… English is increasingly essential at work, even in very French-speaking regions . 

“I absolutely did not expect to have to speak so much English in the MRC de Bellechasse! ” says Jennifer Martin, who immigrated to Quebec last year. 

The factory she works for recruits internationally and many workers, allophones or English speakers, do not yet speak French. As her level of English is an issue at work, the French-born health and safety coordinator wants to improve it.

Jean-Pierre Corbeil. Professor of Sociology

Jean-Pierre Corbeil, professor of sociology at Laval University, says he expects the next Statistics Canada figures to be released in November to show an increase in the regular use of English at work in Quebec. Globalization is of course in question, but also the evolution of the linguistic profile of the Quebec population.

Service industry

But according to Mr. Corbeil, the most marked increase in the use of English is in the service industry. “Workers in shops around an English-speaking university like Concordia or McGill in Montreal will use English to serve some students who do not speak French”, he illustrates.

Michael O'Leary, vice president at recruiting firm Robert Half, confirms that speaking English “is an increasingly important decision-making factor.” for businesses. 

” For everything related to communication on the markets or with customers, businesses are a little more fearful of hiring people who are unilingual ” , including in administrative positions, he says.

New technologies

In addition to globalization, two other economic causes are to be mentioned , according to François Vaillancourt.

“We know that approximately one-third of employment in Quebec is under the control of non-French-speaking companies,” he points out. This increases the likelihood of using English.

The other factor is the development of sectors such as new technologies. Very oriented towards English, they would also increase bilingualism at work.