Top 5 Languages to Learn for Better Career Opportunities

We live in a world where mostly only one or two spoken languages are used in a business setting. But being able to speak and write well in a language other than your mother tongue could be your ticket to a better tomorrow. Becoming a native-level speaker of a foreign language will open up more opportunities for upward and lateral growth when climbing the corporate ladder; it will also give you a leg up when you vie for travel perks. With companies whose businesses are of a global nature, you could become an invaluable member of the workforce. And as for personal benefits, you’ll learn about and appreciate new cultures, meet new acquaintances, and even form lasting friendships.

While you’ll find that a second or third language will prove beneficial in just about any industry, here are some of the ones that have particularly pressing needs for multilingual workers and the kinds of jobs that would be available to you:

  • Health and home care: doctor, medical transcriber, paramedic, physician’s assistant, physical and occupational therapist, registered nurse
  • Hospitality: chef, concierge, hotel/resort manager and staff
  • Education: ESL tutor, guidance counselor, teacher
  • Customer service: computer support specialist, customer service representative, sales clerk, retail store supervisor
  • Finance: accountant, financial adviser/analyst, banker
  • Communication: translator, tour guide, public relations specialist, journalist, media relations officer
  • Home care: caregiver, nanny
  • Petroleum: engineer
Photo by plantronicsgermany via Flickr Creative Commons (CC by ND 2.0)

Photo by plantronicsgermany via Flickr Creative Commons (CC by ND 2.0)

Wouldn’t you be thrilled to have your starting salary be as much as P85,000 a month simply because you know how to speak a foreign language? That is the highest basic pay a business process outsourcing (BPO) company gives to those who can speak eloquent Nihongo. Even without certification and non-native level fluency the minimum pay is still P48,000 and a high P60,000 once you get certified. The top three foreign languages in demand in the call center industry are Mandarin, Nihongo and Spanish. The second tier are Italian and French, according to Marie Faberes, a former team leader at Stellar Philippines.

You too could reach that monthly income or possibly more by learning a second or even a third language! Below are the languages to learn for your career advancement:

1. Mandarin

955 million speakers (14.4% world population)
Where you can learn it: PlusEV Solutions, The Bridge Language School
Valued in companies with business interests in: Mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia

Photo by Marko Kudjerski via Flickr Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0)


2. Spanish
405 million speakers (6.15% world population)
Where you can learn it: You can learn Spanish from Instituto Cervantes of Manila, Rocket Languages
Valued in companies with business interests in: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela

Photo by Petter Palander via Flicker Creative Commons (CC By 2.0)


3. English
360 million speakers (5.43% world population)
Where you can learn it: Asian Center for Foreign Languages, American English
Valued in companies with business interests in: Australia, Bahamas, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States. It is also the de jure official languages in the following countries: Angtigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Cameroon, Cook Islands, Dominica, Eritrea, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Federated States of Micronesia, Namibia, Nauru, Nigeria, Niue, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somaliland, South Africa, south Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia and Zimbabwe. De facto official but no primary language: Bangladesh, Brunei, Israel, Malaysia and Sri Lanka

Photo by Elliott Brown via Flickr Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0)


4. Arabic
295 million speakers (4.43% world population)
Where you can learn it: Le Premier Language, TESDA Language Center
Valued in companies with business interests in: Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Comoros, Dijibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Somaliland, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and Yemen

Photo by Young Shanahan via Flickr Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Photo by Young Shanahan via Flickr Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0)


5. French
74 million speakers (1.12% world population)
Where you can learn it: Berlitz Language Center, Alliance Francaise de Manille
Valued in companies with business interests in: Algeria, Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Dijibouti, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Guinea, Haiti, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Monaco, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Switzerland, Togo, and Vanuatu.

Photo by Young Shanahan via Flickr Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Photo by Simon via Flicker Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0)


Other in-demand languages locally include Japanese and Korean.

Learning a new language is advantageous and rewarding, though the process may not be easy. It even has health benefits: it will further increase your brain power and retard memory loss. You’ll also be able to impress your dates when ordering bouillabaisse and coq au vin when in a French restaurant or any sort of colloquial dish for the language you speak. And, as we’ve already mentioned, you’ll have better chances of being employed both locally and abroad, not to mention have a higher starting salary when you do find a job that lets you use these skills.

If you had the opportunity to learn one of these languages, which would you choose and why?

11 Responses

  1. Krizza

    I agree with you much on this. The more languages you know, the better for your job prospects. I came from a resort and casino industry and able to work there for almost 20 years and so far, they prefer to hire those who are multilingual especially in VIP Services Department.

  2. Claudine The Zamboangueña

    Out of the five you’ve listed above, I am fluent in only English although given that I’m from Zamboanga City I can understand and speak a little Spanish. I’ve always wanted to learn French and Mandarin. Unfortunately, they are two of the most difficult languages to learn.

  3. Dominique Goh

    Mandarin is certainly a very good language to know as many people do have to use it for communications nowadays. For everyone here learning two language is the basic . I hope to improve my French and Japanese.

  4. JanzCrystalz/January

    If I am given a chance, I will definitely learn Mandarin. Why? Because after the privatization, the company I am working at is already under the management of Chinese, with that I want to learn the language. And who knows I will be sent to China for trainings and seminars. 🙂

  5. kareen liez

    I hope it isn’t that hard to learn a different language! I had been trying to learn Spanish before but wasn’t really that focused. Lol

  6. maria

    Based on my experience learning a language, you need to practice speaking the language regularly to be able to master it…unfortunately, my spanish fell short of practice.


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