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News article22 June 2021European Labour Authority, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Five reasons why learning a language can boost your employability

Speaking a foreign language can help you stand out in the labour market and grab recruiters’ attention. Being bilingual doesn’t just look good on your CV – it develops other skills that employers find attractive in potential hires.

Five reasons why learning a language can boost your employability

An in-demand skill

The internet has made it easier than ever for companies to expand to international markets. With many smaller businesses reaching to international customers and partners, an increasing number of job offers require speaking a second language. So whether you are looking for a job in a big corporation or a small company, chances are you will be required to speak at least one foreign language.

Stand out from the rest

Competition in the labour market can be tough, with the most coveted job offers receiving hundreds, sometimes thousands, of applications. Speaking a second or third language can help you stand out from the crowd, especially when your experience and qualifications are similar to those of the other candidates. Make sure your language skills are prominently featured on your CV so that they are not overlooked.

Some might even argue that, with 35% of Europeans aged 25-64 being bilingual, speaking two languages is no longer that unique, and jobseekers should aim to learn a second foreign language to stand out.

Higher salary

Employees who can speak a foreign language are generally paid better than their monolingual counterparts. A study suggests that speaking a second language can add between 11% and 35% to your salary, depending on the language and the country you are based in. For example, there are more speakers of Spanish as a second language in France than there are in Latvia, so the demand for this language would differ between these two countries.

More job opportunities

Being bilingual or multilingual can open up a whole new job market for you. Working for a foreign company no longer means you have to relocate. With the rise of working from home caused by COVID-19, companies are more willing than ever to higher remote workers. So apart from targeting jobs that require the languages you speak, you can also target job markets in the countries of those languages. International job portals like EURES are the perfect place to start your search.

Being bilingual boosts other skills

Research suggests that people who speak one or more foreign languages are better at solving problems, and they are more creative and empathetic. Problem-solving, creativity and empathy are invaluable soft skills that any employer would appreciate in a candidate. It is also argued that bilingual and multilingual people are more open to accepting other people’s points of view and better at establishing interpersonal connections, which are also great skills, especially in areas like customer service and business relations.

Do you want to practice your language skills and refresh your knowledge? Check out these free language learning tools to help you upskill from home.

In partnership with EURES, the European Job Mobility Portal.


Related links:

EURES: Find a job in Europe

In Europe, speaking more than one language is still a privilege

Research finds that bilingual people are smarter, more creative and empathetic

The wage premium from foreign language skills


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