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DEMAND HIGH FOR BILINGUAL WORKERS

High demand for bilingual workers

By Tiana Velez, Arizona Daily Star

In a city nearly 36 percent Hispanic, and which receives 4 million Mexican visitors annually, having a bilingual staff is more a necessity than an option for Tucson’s small- and mid-sized businesses.

Some business owners, however, are finding that recruiting qualified bilingual applicants is easier said than done.

Though the need for bilingual candidates has been fairly consistent over time, in recent years the demand has risen noticeably, said Tami Ballis, division director of administrative staffing firm OfficeTeam in Tucson, 5255 E. Williams Circle, Suite 6800.

New requests for bilingual candidates arrive in her office almost daily and are so high in number that a qualified applicant can usually be placed before leaving the office, she said.

Some companies will even ask for names of bilingual job seekers even if they aren’t currently hiring.

In Pima County, 82 percent of the population that claims to speak Spanish at home also speaks English well or very well, according to data supplied by the 2000 U.S. Census.

So why the dearth of bilingual applicants?

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