Speaking foreign languages opens up new career opportunities, perhaps providing an edge when a promotion is at stake or leading to new and interesting work within an existing career. Speaking different languages means being able to communicate directly with more people in the world and this is an increasingly valuable commodity for many employers. And languages also open the door to living and working abroad.
In the globalised economy, where barriers to international co-operation and exchange are gradually reducing, companies that can work effectively in more than one language are becoming more successful in the international market. As a result, job-seekers with language skills have a corresponding competitive advantage and wider employment opportunities.
Language skills are not just useful when working across borders. They also benefit anyone working in a variety of careers in their home countries. This can range from government agencies, for example customs or immigration services, to teaching, to anyone working in the travel and tourism industry.
Furthermore, in every country there are resident groups speaking non-native languages. Enhanced language abilities can help improve service provision in fields such as medicine, social work and commerce.
Language skills provide extra possibilities in careers where the work is set in an international context. People dealing in news, politics, fashion, films, publishing and sport will be well aware of the opportunities for career development that languages can provide.
As international communication and therefore languages become more important, greater opportunities arise in the field of languages themselves, for language teachers, interpreters and translators.