These are the top languages UK employers are currently seeking
Students are switching up their studies and mastering new languages. Source: Bonnie Kittle/Unsplash

Mastering another language can be a trying task at times, but with practice and the right mindset, there’s no reason you can’t do so with confidence.

At university, there are plenty of opportunities for you to progress in your chosen language. From supportive study groups to additional language lessons, at this level, there’s something for everyone.

To support their users, the free language app Babbel last year revealed the world’s most-spoken languages, based off the total number of people who speak them (whether or not the language is their mother tongue).

Here are the top five:

1. English
1.121 billion total speakers

2. Chinese
1.107 billion total speakers

3. Hindi
534.2 million total speakers

4. Spanish
512.9 million total speakers

5. French
284.9 million total speakers

But if you take a look at the results for native speakers, Chinese comes out  on top with almost 1.2 billion native speakers.

And then Spanish comes close second, with English trailing behind in third.

Are students studying languages in alignment with these stats? Source: Studio Republic/Unsplash

Contrary to the statistics above, these are not the languages UK employers currently favour the most.

For international job platform Indeed, German has worked its way up the leader board to overtake French, Chinese and even Spanish!

An interesting revelation for current students and career-driven graduates, the rise of German may inspire students to alter their language lessons or download free language apps to increase their German or French dialect.

Since 2016, the demand for German language skills by UK employers has risen by 11.59 percent, while Chinese has soared by 35.39 percent.

The Brexit domino effect 

It is plausible that this rise in European languages is closely tied to the happenings of Brexit.

Outlined by David Cannadine, President of the British Academy, “With Brexit just around the corner, it is critical we start to value languages and wake up to the enormous advantages multilingualism can bring. Languages are essential for trade, business and the economy.”

Drawing on recent analysis by the British Academy, Mr Cannadine also believes that language learning in the UK is in need of revival, “This is having a knock-on effect at university level. Between 2007-08 and 2017-18, the number of students studying languages at university has fallen by over half. With fewer students applying, at least 10 modern languages departments have closed in the last decade, and a further nine have significantly downsized.”

Perhaps employers are in great need of employees who speak German and French, and are concerned of the current skills shortage among university students and graduates.

London, United Kingdom – July 2, 2016: March for Europe. Source: Shutterstock

Mr Cannadine expresses that, “The UK has the potential to become a linguistic powerhouse; and with the right policies, political will and cross-sector support, we can create hundreds of thousands of linguists -and transform the UK into a more prosperous, productive, influential nation. Embracing multilingualism would enrich us culturally and economically, improve social cohesion and enhance our wellbeing.”

Reflecting upon the current demand for German and French linguists in the UK, perhaps now would be the best time for you to download a free language learning app or to surround yourself with fellow language enthusiasts.

By giving your CV an extra edge in the increasingly employability pool, additional language skills may be just what you need to stay afloat.

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