Revealed: the most profitable second languages that we should all learn

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Kayleigh Dray

Documentary-maker Louis Theroux once said that everyone should learn to drive, to cook one dish very well, and to speak a second language.

These skills, he said, speaking on The Adam Buxton Podcast, would allow everyone to live a truly independent life – although he admitted that he couldn’t parlez-vous in French quite as well as he liked just yet.

While many of us have got the first two down pat, it was recently revealed that three-quarters of adults “cannot speak a foreign language” in the UK.

However there are many benefits to learning another country’s lingo – particularly in the workplace.

But which is the most useful language to learn, from a business perspective

German is the most valuable second language in the UK business arena

German is the most valuable second language in the UK business arena

Well, new research from Adzuna has identified the highest-paid languages in the UK, as well as those that are most in demand.

And there’s good news for German speakers; not only are there more opportunities for this language than any other in the UK (according to Adzuna, there are currently at least 6,800 vacancies in the UK), but those who speak it can also command, on average, a salary of £34,534.

While European languages made up the bulk of the most valuable languages, however, Arabic, Japanese, and Mandarin also featured highly in the rankings.

Check out the full results below:

Highest Paid Languages In The UK

  1. German              
  2. Arabic  
  3. French 
  4. Dutch   
  5. Spanish
  6. Japanese            
  7. Russian
  8. Italian   
  9. Mandarin           
  10. Welsh  


Most In-Demand Languages In The UK

  1. German                   
  2. French       
  3. Spanish
  4. Italian   
  5. Dutch         
  6. Polish         
  7. Mandarin           
  8. Russian      
  9. Swedish                    
  10. Arabic        

Mandarin, Russian, and Arabic, similarly to German, proved to be both highly-paid and most in-demand.

While Welsh speakers are shown to be highly paid, only 1,000 jobs asked for the language, spoken by just under 20 per cent of people in Wales. 

Polish speakers, however, did not make it onto the list of highest-paid jobs, despite the language being shown to be in high-demand among employers.


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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