Which foreign languages pay international graduates the highest salary?


As an international student, you may be bilingual which is a great asset when it comes to applying for a graduate role. Perhaps you’re learning another language as part of a language exchange club at your institution or having language lessons outside of your studies. Whether it’s the language of your home country, or a newly acquired skill, having a second language can help your employability by connecting you to those across the globe. Let’s take a look at some of the highest paying languages for roles in the UK.


In 2018 data scientists Adzuna counted Arabic speakers with the highest earning potential in the UK but noted that the spread of roles may not be as extensive as other languages in the UK. So, speakers need to have strong ability in order to reach the full salary potential. Language course experts Cactus note that “Arabic is not only desirable but essential for the oil and defence industries. With over 300 million Arabic speakers worldwide knowing Arabic will certainly open doors, and may even open doors you didn’t know existed. Arabic is also extremely useful if you wish to get into journalism and broadcasting.”


Not only is Mandarin Chinese a way to connect with China, one of the largest economies in the world, but it also opens doors across Asia. Due to the difficulty of learning Mandarin, it’s valued highly in business not only in the UK but internationally and the demand continues to grow.


French is spoken in over 40 countries and in a number of African countries, the opportunities and salary are still high for this culturally important language. French linguists are high in demand and it’s the second most learned language after English.


While many European languages are sought after when talking business including Spanish, Dutch and Italian, German has one of the highest salary expectations in this region. With Germany being one of the UK’s strongest trade partners, the salary reflects this well.

While foreign languages are not essential in many industries, they are seen as a transferable skill and can increase salary opportunities for those with the skills. There are a number of opportunities that can open up to those who can speak another language and if you’re thinking of learning another, university is a great time to start. There are a number of ways you can learn while studying, from language sharing events to free language opportunity courses. The British council report that only 38% of Britons speak another language which means that when it comes to language skills there are opportunities for bilingual graduates. If you’re looking for a global role, careers advice or the top news for international students, register for GradLink for free today!

By Jen Garmston Published: Apr 26,2019