How Another Language Could Boost Your Career

Careers, Jobseekers / 12 July 2021

As of 2021, English is the most spoken language in the world. This puts British candidates in a pretty good position, given that our native language has such mass adoption in the business world. Many of us, as a result, don’t tend to learn other languages – Just under 40% of Brits speak another second language at a conversational level or above. This is quite low compared to most EU countries, where 56% of people can on average, speak at least one other language.

A collection of European languages and their associated flags as a button icon.

Given that so many people speak English, you might be asking yourself what the point is in learning another language, but there are plenty of benefits. At the very least, speaking another language is a great skill to add to your CV as it shows dedication and an ability to learn.

Below we’ll look at some of the key professional and personal advantages you can enjoy by learning another language, as well as which languages can be useful to learn.

 

Bilingual Boosts


Being bilingual could give your career and employability a boost in the following ways:

 

  • Bilingual candidates can be viewed more favorably, and get the edge in the hiring process over candidates that only speak one language
  • Speaking another language is associated with higher overall pay and better career opportunities
  • Being able to speak another language greatly increases a candidate’s appeal to global companies and organisations
  • Having another language skill can also mean greater potential for success in jobs that involve travel or global clients

 

There are additional benefits to learning a second language that can not only help with your professional life but your personal one too. The process can help develop the following soft skills, which are useful both in and out of work:

 

  • Multitasking
  • Concentration
  • Active listening
  • Memory
  • Critical thinking
  • Decision making

 

What Languages Are Good to Learn?


Knowing any additional language can be beneficial, but if you’re considering learning something especially for your career, then the below languages can be worth considering.

Spanish has around 400 million speakers worldwide. It’s widely spoken across Europe, the U.S, and South America, making it an excellent choice for both business and personal development. Spanish is also generally considered one of the easier languages to learn for native English speakers.

Mandarin is one of the most spoken languages in the world. Couple that with the facts that China has a huge and ever-growing economy, and that it’s an increasingly attractive place for global business, and it’s easy to see why learning Mandarin could be useful for your career. That said, Mandarin can be very challenging to learn fluently for English speakers.

Arabic can be very beneficial if you’re planning to get into a sector or business that has a significant presence in the Middle East. Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Dubai, in particular, are hubs for global business. Given there are almost 500 million Arabic speakers across the world it can be a useful language to know regardless of your career goals. While not considered as difficult to learn as Mandarin, Arabic can still be quite a challenge for English speakers to pick up.

Russian speakers are less in number globally, but given that Russia is one of the world’s largest economies, and not many Russians speak English, being fluent in Russian can be very useful in the business world. Russian is also an official language in many nearby States, including Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Learning Russian isn’t as easy as some other languages for an English speaker, but it serves as a good base for the other Slavic languages such as Czech and Polish, and the opposite is also true to some extent.

French is a common tongue in the world of business, and many international bodies use this as an official language. If you’re considering a career in politics, charity work, international sports, and many other sectors, then it can be very useful to know. Around 267 million people speak French, and it’s the official language of both the Olympic Commission and NATO, not to mention the World Trade Organisation. Many other countries have French as an official language, including Canada, Belgium, and Vietnam. It’s also fairly welcoming to learn for English speakers thanks to a number of word similarities and the Latin roots.

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