From education to employment

Learning Turkish as a 2nd language boosts earnings most

Less than one in 10 Brits (8%)* can fluently speak a second language, but a new study has revealed that speaking a second language can actually help you earn a higher salary.

The study, conducted by adult-learning college, City Lit, has revealed that those who speak both English and Turkish can expect to earn the highest salary of all 21 common languages, taking home average earnings of £53,071.

Those who also speak Gujarati – a language native to the Indian state of Gujarat – will see their income boosted, with an average salary of £44,109 per annum. If you speak Chinese (any form) as a second language, you’ll be the third highest earner, with an average salary of £42,327.

Those who can speak sign language will earn the least, with a salary of £21,333, 22% lower than the UK average salary of £27,200*.

Despite – or perhaps because of – French being the most common second language spoken, it’s one of the lowest earnings. Nearly half of Brits (47%) claim to speak French as a second language, and can earn an average salary of £27,722. This equals a £25,349 difference between those speaking French and those who earn the most by speaking a second language.

Even though it seems that speaking a second language can earn you a high salary, only 8%** of Brits can fluently speak a second language.

The highest and lowest earners are below:


  • Turkish – £53,071
  • Gujarati – £44,109
  • Chinese (any form) – £42,327
  • Somalian – £42,167
  • Italian – £39,236


  • Sign language – £21,333
  • Welsh – £23,321
  • Lithuanian – £24,643
  • Bengali – £25,955
  • French – £27,722

Commenting on the findings, Chris Jones, Director of Sales and Marketing at City Lit, said:

“Being able to speak a second language is always desirable to employers and has real social value too, so it’s great to see that being able to speak another language has a positive impact on salaries.

“Learning a second language is easier than you think, and there are lots of tips available to help you along your linguistic journey!”

To help the nation become more bilingual, City Lit have put together their top 3 tips on how to stay motivated when learning a new language:

Here are our 3 top tips to help you persevere and make the most of learning a new language, so you can take full advantage of the benefits of bilingualism:

1. Don’t put yourself under undue pressure

Remember learning a new language is like running a marathon – at the outset the prospect might seem incredibly daunting, but with patience, intelligent planning, and hard work, by the end of the process you might wonder what you were originally worried about.

During the first few weeks of learning a new language, it’s more than likely you will face some hurdles that may seem like a roadblock to progress. Set yourself small, achievable learning goals between class and this will help nip any frustrations in the bud.

2. Don’t worry about making mistakes

Always keep in mind that you are at the very start of the learning process. This means you won’t be the only person in the class feeling worried about not understanding certain words, grammar rules, or even speaking out loud in an unfamiliar language.

It’s only natural to feel a little anxious at the outset about tripping up over words, grammar or pronunciation, but the more you persevere, the easier everything will become. Never lose track of the fact that every mistake is simply one step closer towards achieving your ultimate goal. Our helpful staff will also be on hand to help build up your confidence throughout your course.

3. Use every opportunity to learn outside of class

Find it tricky to stay motivated when learning outside of class? Try mixing things up a little to help you refocus. Don’t worry about taking the occasional break from an exercise book or audio guide. Try listening to songs, watching a film, absorbing local radio or sport broadcasts, or reading online newspaper websites in the language you are studying.

Even if you don’t pick up on everything during your first few attempts, you’ll be surprised how quickly you will start to grasp new words and expressions simply by mixing things up a little outside of class.

Last but not least, enjoy the journey!

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