Learning a language can open a lot of doors, and that’s more the case now than it’s ever been before. Language skills have always come in handy when travelling, but now, mastering a language could also be highly beneficial to your career.
In our last post, we reported how bilingual Brits are being paid more and have more career opportunities than their monolingual counterparts. The opportunities available to bilingual workers are only likely to increase in the future, given that language skills are more sought after than they have ever been before.
The British Council has already stressed the need for young Brits to learn a foreign language if the UK is ever to become a ‘truly global nation’. And with the latest CBI Education and Skills Report stating that the need for languages will only increase after the UK’s exit from the EU, it’s high time we hit the books and star learning. But which languages should we focus our efforts on? The following are the best languages to study to increase your future job opportunities:
French is currently the most sought-after language in the UK, with 54 percent of employers saying that the skill would be useful to their business. This represents a steady rise from 2017, when 51 percent of employers admitted that having a French speaker would be an advantage. Of the UK job vacancies in the UK that ask for a second language, the most commonly requested is French.
Germany has a powerful economy and strong trade links with many countries, making it one of the biggest players in Europe. Over half (51 percent) of the employers who responded to the CBI survey said that German would be useful to their business, up from 47 percent in 2017. Although German has a reputation as being a difficult language to master, it’s actually much closer to English than languages that are supposedly easier to learn, such as Spanish and French.
In 2016, Spanish was the only foreign language that was growing in popularity in English schools, and now it’s also becoming more popular with employers. In terms of the best languages to study to boost your future job prospects, Spanish has shot up the list. 50 percent of UK employers said it was a useful language for their business, up from 30 percent and 45 percent in 2016 and 2017 respectively. This is due to the fact that a mastery of Spanish allows businesses to connect with countries beyond Europe in the growing Latin American market.
It’s perhaps not surprising that demand from UK employers for Mandarin speakers has increased, given that it’s the language spoken by the world’s second-largest economy and has more than one billion speakers worldwide. China also has a growing middle class with a taste for British products, which is further increasing demand for Mandarin speakers. 37 percent of employers said that Mandarin was a useful language to their business, up from 28 percent and 36 percent in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
With more than 400 million speakers worldwide in countries including Egypt, Sudan, Chad, United Arab Emirates and more, Arabic is becoming an increasingly desirable language for UK employers. The British Council has argued that Arabic should be taught in UK schools. However, unlike the other languages on this shortlist, the demand for Arabic among UK employers has fallen over the past few years, down from 26 percent in 2017 to its current level of 16 percent.
What second language do you speak?
If you have a second language and are looking for your first or next bilingual role in the UK, we want to hear from you. We have a range of well-paid and rewarding roles in the south of England for bilingual speakers. Take a look at our current vacancies and send us your CV today, or give us a call on 02392 987 765 to discuss your requirements.