The UK sees a fairly large proportion of the population speak multiple languages, with 9.2% of the country speaking a main language other than English – according to data from the Office for National Statistics. With so many languages being spoken throughout the UK, is there more benefit to adults that have the ability to speak languages other than English?
According to new research from the University of Portsmouth, students that graduate university able to speak multiple languages will have access to better job prospects than their peers, with German and French being the most highly sought-after by employers. However, with many schools opting to drop modern languages from their curriculum, this could potentially be costing future students the job opportunities that come with demand for multilingualism.
Veejay Lingiah, CEO and Co-Founder of FlashAcademy®, an online language-learning platform that specialises in helping speakers of other languages learn English, had this to say:
“We have seen first-hand that there is an increasing demand for people to speak multiple languages. The world has become more interconnected as years have gone by, and businesses that plan to trade overseas now value the importance of multilingual employees.
“Providing children with the ability to learn multiple languages beyond just English comes with so many advantages, not only in terms of setting them up for success in the job market, but also in building their self-confidence and speaking skills.
“We are fortunate to work with many schools that understand the significance of languages, and encourage their students to embrace their own home language while developing their English language acquisition. However, this sadly isn’t the case universally.
“Children that are given the opportunity to develop their language skills early on in life are given a substantial advantage over their peers. There is a wide belief that multilingual children’s brains have better flexibility and cognitive abilities. And there is certainly an argument for multilingual children having a better ability to multitask.
“These are key skills that will help children turn into adults that have the necessary abilities to complete tasks efficiently in the workplace, even if they enter job roles in which they are not required to speak multiple languages.”