The Top Languages to Learn to Stay Competent

While learning any language is going to be beneficial for your career and your personal life, some are more important than others.

Knowing more than one language is nearly vital in today’s world. Companies are all global, and the demand for multilingual applicants is high.

But not all languages are created equal; some will get you further than others. Learn from us — which are the most important languages to learn in 2022?

What Makes A Language Useful To Learn?

Number Of Speakers

Unsurprisingly, it is very important to know how many speakers there are of a language before you set your heart on learning it. Most people opt to learn languages spoken by the largest number of people.

You should also consider how many people speak the language as a second language. With this information, you will open more doors to global communication.

Geographic Region

This is where your goals and interests come into play. Do you plan to travel to one particular region for a while? If so, look into what languages are commonly spoken there.

If you want to learn a language that is widely spoken throughout the world, you may want to opt for English, French, or Spanish, which are spoken on all continents.

Usability And Versatility

When choosing a language, you may want to look at versatility. Mainly, can you use this language both at home and abroad? What about in both business and social contexts?

Ask yourself, “How much will I use this language?” It takes time and effort to learn a language, and you will want to learn the one with the most usability for you!

Career Opportunities

Think of your current or future field, and location of business. If you are working in the United States, Spanish is a very useful language to learn.

If you expect your industry or company will do a lot of international business, learn languages that will be useful in your field. It could be Chinese, Japanese, Italian, or German.

The Most Important Languages To Learn In 2022

Today, I’m going to share with you the best languages to learn to stay competitive in the job market.

1. Mandarin

More than a billion people can be reached once you learn how to speak Mandarin Chinese. It’s not the easiest language for English-speaking people to learn, but the upside is worth the effort.

The number of multinational companies that are looking for executives who speak Mandarin has risen by 35% from previous years. Most importantly, China is set to be the world’s #1 economic powerhouse.

Beyond the major benefits learning Mandarin could provide for your professional life, it’s likely that wherever you go, there will be native Mandarin speakers you can build relationships with, as it’s one of the most widely spoken languages.

2. German

Germany has the highest GDP in Europe, and many are flocking to the country seeking new careers. According to The EcoEconomist, knowing how to speak German will offer the highest reward in bonuses compared to learning how to speak Spanish or French. That fact alone makes it one of the best languages to learn this year.

  • Spanish—1.5 percent bonus
  • French 2.3 percent bonus
  • German 3.8 percent bonus

3. Portuguese

Portuguese is not only spoken in Portugal but also in Brazil, one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Not only that but it’s spoken in 10 countries from South America to Africa, making it one of the best languages to learn by 2020.

Because Portuguese is the 5th most spoken language in the world, you can be reassured that there will be plenty of people you can practice with once you get going.

We should note that Portuguese skills aren’t in demand as much as Spanish skills are, but the demand is definitely growing. Depending on where you plan to travel or the reason for learning it, you should make note of the difference between Portuguese from Portugal and Portuguese from Brazil.

4. Spanish

If you live in the United States, then you’ll know that learning how to speak Spanish is not only a “nice-to-have,” but a “must-have” skill. From entertainment to the number of native speakers and career demands, learning Spanish is one of the best investments you can make as an English speaker.

Today, more than 400 million people in Latin America and elsewhere are Spanish-speakers. This number is expected to rise to 500 million or more shortly. It’s up to you to take advantage of the opportunity.

5. Arabic

Arabic is spoken by over 300 million people throughout 57 countries around the world. What makes Arabic especially important is the economic wealth that Arabic countries hold, with over $600 billion in GDP.

Knowing how to speak Arabic is the golden key to entering the Middle Eastern economy, which has one of the youngest and fastest-growing populations in the world.

It also has the largest repository of oil and gas in the world and is one of the top ten holders of US treasuries. All of this means that the Middle East has a lot of room to grow and looks to be well on its way to doing so.

Fair warning though…while Arabic is definitely one of the best languages to learn, it is known to be one of the most difficult for English speakers.

6. Russian

At first glance, Russia may appear isolated from the rest of the world, but it does have one of the largest economies in the world and many business opportunities.

It’s a major economic player in Eastern Europe, and you’ll be able to find many people speaking the language wherever you go around the world, including the United States.

Learning Russian will be especially useful if you work in the oil and gas industries or in hospitality, as these are two of the biggest industries in Russia.

7. Hindi

Even if you don’t have the desire to go live in India, the number of speakers alone (500 million-plus) should convince you to learn the language.

More importantly, we’ll see a surge in economic growth as more and more jobs are outsourced to India and as Hindi entertainment (like Bollywood) catches on in Western countries. This is one of the best languages to learn as an investment in the future.

8. English

English is definitely one of the most important languages to learn in 2022 and beyond. It is used in global business, worldwide travel, diplomatic affairs, and computer technology.

Not only that, but many of the top global economies are English-speaking ones — the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK. English has the highest number of second-language speakers as well, with almost a billion non-native English speakers in the world.

Why Learn A New Language

You’ll Make More Money

You can make big bucks if you know a second language. Adding a second language to your repertoire can result in an average of a 2% salary increase.

According to The Economist, knowing Spanish will give you a 1.5% bonus, French gives you a 2.3% bonus, and German gives you a 3.8% bonus!

You’ll Have More Career Opportunities

Globalization is on the rise, and our world is always growing smaller. Those in-demand jobs may expect applicants to know at least two languages — especially if companies work across global teams or with foreign business partners.

Having fluency in several languages will help you stand out on your applications, especially if they are in-demand languages.

The Bottom Line

Whatever language you decide to learn in order to stay competitive, it’s important to note that demand for bilingual workers has more than doubled in recent years and that demand doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Learning a language takes time and dedication, but the effort will be entirely worth it.

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