Working language

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TomSut
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Working language

Postby TomSut » Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:01 am

Hi,

I am from London and looking into relocating to Lima next year and have a question in relation to the working languages in some of the international companies.

I work in banking (risk management) and notice that there are a lot of large international banks and consultancies based in Lima (Scotiabank, HSBC, Citibank, Standard Chartered, PwC, Deloitte etc). Please could someone give me some form of indication as to whether their working languages (in their office environments) is Spanish or English?

I studied Spanish up until the age of 16 (I am now 28) and gained top grades at it throughout my school life so would most likely be able to become fluent within a year or two if I immersed myself in the language. In London I have taken a number of professional qualifications and have never struggled to find work (I graduated from a top UK university with a first class Maths degree). Please could someone advise me around whether I would be in demand among employers in Lima? or would my lack of fluency in Spanish rule me out of landing top jobs in Lima for now at least?

Thanks for any help anyone can provide :)


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FDiH
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Re: Working language

Postby FDiH » Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:12 am

From a personal experience I can tell you that hardly anyone at the larger Peruvian banks speaks English. Even at the export department where they deal with international banking, they do not speak any English. Really strange I know. I guess Google translate is their friend.
You'll have better luck at PWC/EY as they employ expats. But as far as I know their 'office language' is Spanish as well. The only business where Peruvians speak English till a certain degree seems to be the tourism industry.
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Alan
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Re: Working language

Postby Alan » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:55 pm

FDiH nails it: the large banks all use Spanish as their working language, though I have found most top executives will speak English fairly well, but that said, English will be used "externally" , for example when dealing with foreign clients, or coordinating bond issues with foreign partners, etc.

I've noticed that in large mining companies where the GM is an English speaker there is an English working environment at the top level. But this seems to the be exception rather than the rule.

So, unless you are the boss.. you should probably be prepared to speak and write Spanish at work.

Whether of not you'd be in demand is a good question: banks have made big changes in risk management policies over the past decade and seem to have moved to an algorithmic model, for better of worse. A couple on this forum might have some insight regarding your employability, but why not contact the leading executive placement agencies here. Most of the larger ones are international.

Alan

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