The job market is becoming more specialized and more competitive than ever before. While a degree from a good university combined with a few years of experience could help you enormously, the ability to speak one or more foreign languages could set you apart from other employees.
According to one study, half of the job postings in the U.S. in 2014 specifically requested foreign language proficiency. A Forbes Insight report showed that 65% of companies face language barriers within their organizations, so they favor bilingual speakers to help them expand to international markets.
So, there’s no question about the fact that, if you want to elevate your career opportunities, you need to learn one or more foreign languages. But, which language should you focus on?
Let’s find out:
Spanish is the second most-spoken language in the United States. In fact, it’s been estimated that the Hispanic population in the U.S. will surpass the 100 million mark by 2050. So, while learning Spanish won’t necessarily help you stand apart, it can improve your career prospects.
Spoken by a large fraction of the population of North, Central, and South America, Spanish is becoming a popular world language. Not to mention, it’s been shown that the ability to speak Spanish can get you a 1.7% income increase.
Dutch isn’t always the first option that comes to mind when thinking about learning a second language. However, since it can be heard across the world, from Belgium to the Caribbean islands to South America, more and more companies are looking to hire Dutch speakers.
Dutch is relatively easy to learn by English speakers since both languages have West Germanic roots, meaning that they have a pretty similar base.
Here’s an example:
Dutch: Wat is jouw naam?
English: What is your name?
That’s pretty simple, right?
China has become one of the world’s largest economies, and it’s expected to overtake the U.S’s influence in the world by 2050. Businesses are flocking to the Chinese markets due to cheap manufacturing and labor force. So, it should come as no surprise that companies are making it a priority to attract employees who speak Mandarin.
Arab countries are on the rise, economically speaking. Rich in natural resources, the Middle East has seen a 120% growth in just five years, from 2003 to 2008. Industries, such as education, finance, foreign services, and transportation are on the rise, attracting investors all over the world.
Not only that Arabic is a beautiful language that can open the door to a fascinating culture, but there’s currently a shortage of people who can speak Arabic in Europe and the U.S. So, putting Arabic on your CV is sure to make you stand out and facilitate your career growth.
Not only that Germany has the most stable economy within the European Union, but the German language is one of the most popular across the continent. You can find numerous German speaking people living in Austria, Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and so on. So, anyone who wants to pursue a career within the Eurozone could greatly benefit from learning German.
More than that, it’s been estimated that learning German can increase your wage to more than 4%.
Don’t put off this task by saying to yourself that you don’t have the time or the resources. There are numerous opportunities, from online classes to Skype language tutors. So, study the list above and choose a language that fits your career goals best.