Love languages? We do too! Not least because foreign language skills can open a whole world of job opportunities — if you’re thinking of boosting your career, maybe those business Spanish classes are just what you need to prepare for your next step.
But if you’re still choosing your professional path, exactly what careers are good for foreign language speakers? And which language jobs are in high demand right now?
If you’re considering studying languages (or already speak a few) keep reading to find out what direction they can help you take. You can also get in touch to learn how our tutors can help you reach your language career goals.
Salary information in this article was sourced from uk.indeed.com, glassdoor.co.uk and totaljobs.com.
Careers where foreign languages are essential
If you’re a language geek, there are plenty of careers out there made just for you. Here are a few examples of jobs that require language skills:
- Translator/interpreter. From politics and business to literature and entertainment, the world needs language specialists to truly stay connected, and interpreters and translators are always language professions in high demand. If you like calling the shots, you can also decide to become a translation project manager (average interpreter salary: £29,250 per year.)
- Language teachers. Want to master language training to help others unlock their potential? This is the path for you (average salary: £29,136 per year.)
- Foreign language intelligent analyst. If besides great language and contextualisation skills you also have strong emotional intelligence and people skills, you can make a great language intelligence analyst (average salary: £30,000 per year.)
Working in tourism with a foreign language
The world is your oyster — if you enjoy travelling and/or helping people discover new places, tourism may be just the right field for you. You’ll need language training if you want to be a:
- Tour guide. If you’re after a flexible and highly sociable position and enjoy walking around town, you’ll love being a tour guide (average pay: £10.12 per hour.)
- Travel agent. If a desk job is more of your thing and you like the idea of spending your day planning dream holidays, you can expect to make a base salary of about £20,000 as a travel agent in the UK.
- International flight attendant. Besides travelling to exotic destinations, international flight attendants earn more than their peers who fly national (base pay: £30,000.)
Highest paying language jobs
Taking language classes is a time, effort, and money investment for learners. It’s only natural that you want it to pay off. Here’s where you’ll reap the best rewards for your language efforts:
- Language lecturer. Lecturers make £10k more per year than language teachers. If the average annual salary is £39,000, most experienced workers make about £50,000.
- Embassy jobs. Of course, diplomat salaries vary greatly depending on the specific position. The median pay is £47,000 per year.
- Journalist/foreign correspondent. High-profile polyglot journalists in London can make £80,000 or more per year. Of course, salaries for journalists and foreign correspondents vary depending on the newspaper and location.
- Solicitor. Immigration solicitors in the UK benefit from having foreign language skills and on average make £40,208 per year.
- CEO. Alright, not all CEOs need to speak languages other than English. But if the average CEO in the UK makes £78,415, you can imagine how being a polyglot adds value to the company (and your paycheck.)
- Business Developer. Again, business and finance jobs are among the obvious highest payers in the UK and firms tend to prefer candidates who can offer languages like Spanish, German, or Mandarin (average salary: £52,500 per year.)
Top language jobs to travel the world
One of the best parts of speaking a second language? You get to travel the world and if you want, move abroad more easily. Knowing the local lingo will get you places personally and professionally. If you only speak English, you’re going to have a harder time finding a job outside the English-speaking world. Find below the best jobs for globetrotters. We won’t add figures since salaries vary dramatically depending on location.
- Digital nomad. Can’t stay put? Make your job follow you by blogging, videomaking, coding, or working for a remote-friendly company.
- Yacht/ cruise ship worker. Discover the world, meet new people, and enjoy the ocean.
- International aid worker. Purpose-driven? Explore the world as you help solve its greatest challenges.
- English teacher. ESL teachers are often required to speak the local language.
- Au pair. Your French may not be polished yet, but it’ll improve quickly if you immerse yourself in the language while living with a local family in Paris.
- Hospitality worker. Hostels, hotels, restaurants and cafes are often the first stop for job seekers who have just landed in a new place. You’ll need to speak the local language to work with customers.
- Festival/event planner. No, you don’t need to be a performer to work at a festival. Event organisers are always looking for professionals who can help them plan the best experience for attendees and festival-goers.
How learning a new language can help your career
In general, language skills can help boost most careers. From customer service agents to art dealers, knowing a second language will open new job and market opportunities and can make the difference between similarly skilled candidates. Experts calculate that a second language could be worth 10% more of what you’re making now. Plus, being bilingual has been shown to help with creativity and decision-making.
What are the best jobs for foreign language speakers?
It depends. If you want to become a language specialist, you can study to be an interpreter, translator, or teacher. If you’d like a high-paying job, you can explore the financial or diplomatic world, where foreign languages are valuable assets.
What languages help your career the most?
Knowing a second language has been proven to unlock career options and even boost your paycheck, regardless of which specific language you speak. What language to choose depends on the field you want to work in. For example, French is best for diplomacy and international relations, while Chinese, German and Arabic can help you in the tech world.