Bilingualism not needed to succeed in Quebec

Fluency in French, with only 'a little English,' just fine: Survey

Being fluent in Canada's two official languages might sound like a solid foundation for career success but nearly one-half of Quebec residents view fluency in French — with only "a little" knowledge of English — sufficient to be successful in that province.

Forty-seven per cent of 813 French and English Quebec residents surveyed said being "fluent in French with a little English is sufficient" for career success today in Quebec, according to a Monster survey. The number rose to 53 per cent among those in the 18 to 34 age group but dropped to 40 per cent among those 55 and older. Among respondents in the 35 to 54 age group, 50 per cent agreed fluency in French with "a little English" is sufficient.

However, 41 per cent agreed it's "essential to be fluently bilingual" for career success in Quebec today.

"Although the Quebec survey results indicate that a significant number of residents believe French is still the most important language in Quebec for career advancement, being fluently bilingual in our interconnected world today is becoming more of a valued asset in the eyes of employers," said Peter Gilfillan, Monster Canada senior vice-president and general manager. "Your qualifications and skill set are what set you apart from the competition for jobs and advancement and there is no doubt that linguistic skills are very significant to employers today. Mastery of two or more languages, compared to fluency in just one language, can be a powerful advantage to bring to any organization."

Among the 769 French-speaking survey respondents, only 39 per cent said it is "essential to be fluently bilingual" for a successful career in Quebec today, compared to 73 per cent among English-speaking respondents.

By age, just 32 per cent of respondents age 18 to 34 believe it is "essential to be fluently bilingual," compared to 39 per cent of those age 35 to 54 and 51 per cent of those in the 55-plus age group.

Among all respondents, nine per cent said "French only is sufficient," while three per cent agreed "English with a little French is sufficient." Almost no one (.02 per cent) agreed "English only is sufficient."

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