The best jobs where learning another language improves your chances of success

by Adriana Stein
April 27, 2021

Speaking more than one language helps boost your career. You’re able to look for opportunities and jobs in more than one global market and being bilingual or multilingual makes you a more desirable candidate.

If you want to create better career opportunities for yourself, learning a new language is an excellent place to start. You not only have an edge against other applicants, you can also blend seamlessly into the culture of the company you’re applying to.

14 top jobs where language skills pay off big time

Imagine working for a multinational company. While being fluent in English and having outstanding credentials may get you the job, there are still plenty of opportunities you’re missing out on if you don’t speak another language. Here’s a common scenario: there are two candidates with the same qualifications, except for one is fluent in an essential language the company needs. Who do you think will get the promotion?

If you still think that speaking English is enough to have a successful career, check out these 14 jobs favouring multilingual employees and freelancers. This might just be the motivation you need to learn a new language.

Quick note: below salary statistics compiled from Glassdoor and Indeed.

1. Marketing

With marketing becoming increasingly digital, the whole world has become every business’s marketplace. Marketers are no longer limited to geographical locations and can now reach everyone across the globe.

That’s why marketers who are bilingual or multilingual find more opportunities. Global consumers prefer to buy goods and services from companies that provide information in their customers’ language. As a freelance marketer myself, I can wholeheartedly confirm that being able to tap into both the English-speaking and German-speaking markets is definitely a big advantage.

2. Customer service

Localisation matters and this is especially true in customer service. Companies that have representatives who speak their customers’ language often earn more, because they can help more customers in different locations. Considering that customer service jobs have now expanded heavily online, combine that with language skills and you’ve got a quick ticket to long-term career success.

3. Logistics

As with marketing and sales, the logistics industry is becoming increasingly global. Even among domestic markets, having bilingual specialists is a must-have. This is even more important for larger international supply chains. If you can’t communicate with a driver or a manager in their local language, you’re losing business.

4. Translator/interpreter

Even as the world turns into a global village, speaking different languages keeps us from being wholly connected. Translators and interpreters do the vital job of building bridges between different cultures. Rightly so, it’s a high-paying job that requires thorough knowledge and understanding of the language, culture, and context.

5. International business

English may be the current business lingua franca, but if you want to expand your business to non-English speaking countries, you’ll need to be fluent in other languages. While you may think the English-speaking business environment gives you enough opportunities, there is a steady growth in new and emerging non-English-speaking markets, especially German and Spanish. If you want a larger piece of the pie, learning a second or third language will give your career a boost. 

6. Sales

Just as marketers need to speak in their target audience’s language, so do salespeople. If you want to convert leads into customers, you need to speak their language. Give them the information they need about your brand, goods, and services in a way they’ll understand and relate to. If you’re a salesperson with language skills and bring in the money for your company, you can be absolutely sure that you’ll take your career to the next level.

7. Communications and PR

Many things can be misinterpreted or misunderstood when heard in a foreign language. And if you’re using apps to translate your message, you can miss many important nuances. This is a problem communications and public relations (PR) professionals can avoid by speaking to a target audience in their native language.

If you want to pursue a career in communications and PR, consider learning another language. You’ll not only tap two global markets, but you’ll also be able to serve as a liaison between the two cultures.

8. Journalism

If you’re a high-profile multilingual journalist in London, you can expect to earn £80,000 or more per year, simply because you offer more value to your company. You can go to non-English speaking countries and communities, connect better with locals, and write better narratives closer to their perspectives. Since you eliminate the language barrier, you can see and convey the world through your subject’s eyes.

9. C-suite

A non-bilingual CEO in London earns as much as £300,000 per year. But imagine how much more you could earn if you could speak another language. Since it’s the CEO’s job to build meaningful and productive relationships with other companies, it’s useful to the business if you speak another language. And by the way, that goes for any executive position, such as CMO, COO, CFO, and more. 

10. Doctor

When tourists visit a foreign country, they usually look for a doctor who speaks their language when they have a medical emergency. You can add more value to your medical services by being a multilingual doctor. With this simple addition, you can expect to earn £139,000 or more per year.

11. Solicitor

An immigration solicitor in the UK currently earns £40,208 annually by catering to multilingual clients. If you’re in private practice, you can easily widen your services by accepting foreign cases. 

12. Government Positions

When you’re in government service, you most likely need to speak with foreigners. If you speak different languages, you can better serve your community. You could, for example, help put recently moved expats at ease who are struggling at the foreigner’s office.

And being able to able an additional language often comes with better pay. For example, an ordinary police officer in the UK could earn £29,735 per year, but this increases by 5% to 10% if you’re bilingual.

13. Flight Attendant

The average base pay of regular flight attendants in the UK is between £15,000 and £18,000 per year. If you’re bilingual or multilingual, you have the edge to cater to international flights. These flights are your ticket (literally) to higher pay. Currently, international flight attendants in the UK earn a base pay of £30,000 per year. 

14. Foreign Relations Correspondent

If you work in this field, you can expect jobs to make £35,357 to £72,000 per year. Though the job is more challenging for bilinguals and multilingual, the lucrative pay surely makes it all worthwhile. 

These jobs may seem like a distant dream for you now. However, if you start learning a second language now, in just three months, you’ll have the power to boost your career and work in an industry you love.