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June 2017

5 Reasons Learning a New Language Is a Good Career Move

Why foreign languages make for good business

We all learn new languages for different reasons. Whether it be for fun, for travel, or because of love, no one reason is necessarily better than the other. Perhaps one of the most practical reasons to learn a new language is for work. Picking up another tongue helps in a business sense, though often in ways that are hard to quantify. In the simplest sense, language learning helps develop us as human beings the way acquiring any knowledge does, whether it be philosophy or mathematics (which could also be considered form of languages in themselves). Today we’ll take a look at five reasons why learning a new language is a good career move.

It helps distinguish you from the competition

Job hunting is hard. There are many people around the world struggling to find employment, hoping to distinguish themselves from the myriad of other job applicants striving for the same positions. Demonstrating a competent ability in another language helps you stand out from the crowd. It’s no easy feat knowing another language, and it exhibits a worldliness not everyone has. At the very least, knowing another language makes you more intriguing as a person, and that doesn’t hurt during the job interview either.

It may raise your salary

According to studies, bilingual and multilingual employees may find average pay increases from 4 to 15 percent when compared to employees who only speak one language. Of course this depends on the nature of the company in which you work, and it goes without saying that those diligent enough to learn another language would likely be diligent at work as well. Regardless, knowing another language is a beneficial skill that’s applicable whether one works in global business or as a barista in a café.

It makes you more relevant in the global economy


The world is getting smaller. With the Internet and cheaper flights, connecting with the other side of the world, whether virtually or in person, is easier and more affordable than ever. With all the trade partnerships promoting globalisation, the economic boundaries between countries constantly grows and shifts. Knowing an extra language or two can be extremely beneficial particularly in today’s global economy, even if you never travel. Compare a free Skype call today to a long-distance call in the 1990s. It’s far more effortless and cheap to work with those abroad now. Additionally, substantial economic zones may shift, as is the current case with Brexit. With fewer EU workers in the UK, those who speak additional languages will become more desirable in international cities like London.

Foreign clients may find you more likeable


If you have the ability to speak to a foreign client in his or her native language, it’s only understandable that said client would feel more at ease speaking with you. Communicating with clients on a human level on their terms can help build rapport in a business setting, especially if you’re in an industry that often has to pitch for projects. Developing an awareness and empathy for other cultures also helps in sales, when a keen sense of how others think is necessary for truly developing meaningful connections.

You may find more opportunity to travel

An additional effect of globalisation is that many large companies have several offices around the world. Knowing the language of a country is highly helpful if you hope to travel there for work. Moving for work is often a great way to experience a new country, as many companies will front the costs of travel and relocation. Even if you don’t know the language of the country, having gone through the language learning process will give you the mental tools and experience necessary for picking up another language more efficiently than those who are unfamiliar with foreign language learning.

Of course, the process of learning is beneficial no matter the subject. As long as we keep growing and learning, we become better humans ourselves. Language learning has an even more profound effect because it connects us with others, bridging the communication gap between cultures and bringing us all together.

Has knowing another language ever helped you professionally? Share your experiences and tips on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” TELC English for more articles on language learning!

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