Customer Service and AI-Expertise Top List of Key Employee Skills, ALC Survey Finds

ALC 2023 Survey Insights Translation and Localization Industry

Customer focus and revenue growth have emerged as recurring themes in the Association of Language Companies’ (ALC) 2023 Industry Survey, produced in collaboration with Slator (the report will be made available here on the ALC website).

The survey attracted responses from 85 companies across a broad spectrum of the language services industry, and Slator recently presented the findings at the ALC’s 2023 Annual Summit.

Despite the current focus on technology innovation and AI across the language services industry, the survey revealed that customer service skills trump technology know-how, and will continue to do so for the next 3 years.

The language service providers surveyed rated the most important skills for employees over the next 3 years to be service orientation and customer service – selected by 38% of respondents – followed by AI and big data (34%), and resilience, flexibility and agility (28%).

The findings are broadly in line with the 2023 World Economic Forum survey findings, which concluded that the top three skills in demand globally are analytical thinking, creative thinking, and resilience, flexibility and agility. Technical literacy was listed at 6th place by the World Economic Forum, and 8th by the Association of Language Companies.

The survey also revealed that almost a quarter of companies plan to expand the use of contract work, with respondents citing independent translators and interpreters as key roles in this expansion. The language service providers surveyed also expected a 65% increase in sales/business development manager vacancies, and a 55% increase in project manager positions over the next 12 months.

The expected increase in hiring over the next 3 years comes against a backdrop of increased operational costs, primarily from labor costs, cited by more than half of the companies surveyed, and an increase of interest in automation, with more than 70% of respondents planning to accelerate process automation in the run-up to 2025.