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Is it worth learning a foreign language for work

We British are probably the laziest nation when it comes to learning languages. The fact that we often don’t need to know the local language when we go abroad, either because we go to an English speaking nation or because the locals know English, is a factor but is it worth learning a foreign language for work?
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Types of job

The truth is that there’s always a value in the workplace for those who can speak other languages but that value is determined by the type of job you’re doing. If you work in customer services answering the phone, there could be more money in your job if you learn another language. Of course, that won’t be the case if you firm only deal with domestic customers, so the industry and the size of the company play a major part in determining if your wages increase when you have language skills.

Examples

A quick look at jobsite.co.uk shows us that pay scales vary dramatically depending on the area of the country, with jobs in the capital normally among the highest payers in the UK. There’s also a premium for jobs that need language skills. You might actually find that these roles are so specialised that the salary is also described as “competitive” or “negotiable”. Typically though if you’re planning on learning a European language, you’ll be able to command somewhere up to 10% more than your colleagues.

Moving abroad

Of course if you can become fluent in a foreign language, you could move abroad. This could either lead to greater salary chances with UK based firms with overseas branches or it could mean moving abroad to work for a foreign firm. The advantages there if you have savings or equity in your property could make learning a new language financially worthwhile.

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