A recent report by the British Council revealed a shortage of people able to speak the ten most important foreign languages to know for the future global business arena.
The Languages for the Future report identifies Spanish, Arabic, French, Mandarin Chinese, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Turkish and Japanese as the languages most vital to the UK over the next 20 years. They were chosen based on economic, geopolitical, cultural and educational factors including the needs of UK businesses, the UK’s overseas trade targets, diplomatic and security priorities, and prevalence on the internet.
But, according to an online YouGov poll of more than 4000 UK adults commissioned by the British Council as part of the report, three quarters (75%) are unable to speak any of these languages well enough to hold a conversation. French is the only language spoken by a double-digit percentage (15%), followed by German (6%), Spanish (4%) and Italian (2%). Arabic, Mandarin, Russian or Japanese are each only spoken by 1% – while Portuguese and Turkish are each spoken by less than 1%.
In today’s fast paced business world being bilingual or multilingual is a highly valued asset and can often give people the competitive edge when seeking to develop their career. Kensington and Chelsea College has a reputation for excellence in Business and Management and offers a range of language courses including the top three business languages identified by the British Council report – Spanish, Arabic and French.
Date published: 17 December 2013