business

Best Languages for Your Career

Learning an in-demand language can improve you job prospects.

In this increasingly global economy, learning a new language can boost your chances at landing a lucrative job. In 2014 alone, nearly half a million job postings in the U.S. demanded specific foreign-language proficiency. To build our ranking of the best foreign languages for your career, we used data provided by job-tracking firm Burning Glass Technologies on number of job postings, median salaries, and types of jobs for each language. Here are the three best languages to learn for your career:

Portuguese

Portuguese comes in third place in our rankings. It has 203 million speakers worldwide, and one of the highest median annual salaries on our list, Portuguese easily outshines almost all other languages. Most Americans study Spanish, not Portuguese, giving Portuguese speakers a competitive edge in the job market. Even better, jobs requiring Portuguese pay a median salary of $42,500—$6,000 a year more than jobs requiring Spanish.

German

German takes second place. The language had the fourth-highest number of job postings in the markets we surveyed. And U.S. jobs demanding German proficiency pay more than those for any other language—a median of $52,000 a year. And while German has a reputation of being among the hardest European languages, it is still easier than the language in our number one spot.

Mandarin

The very best language you can learn to bolster your career? It’s Mandarin, the most popular of all Chinese languages, with more than a billion speakers worldwide. In 2014, there were more than 21,000 job openings for Chinese speakers in the U.S. alone. Demand for Chinese speakers is even greater abroad, especially in booming Asian economies, including China, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan. If you do decide to learn Chinese, prepare to study hard; this tonal language is consistently ranked as one of the most difficult ones for English speakers.

If these languages aren't speaking to you, see seven other languages that can help you get ahead in your career.

Most Popular

4 Steps to a Happy Single Retirement
happy retirement

4 Steps to a Happy Single Retirement

The number of seniors who are single and childless is growing. This group needs to be purposeful as they think about their health and finances and fos…
April 8, 2021
Where's My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS's "Get My Payment" Tool to Get an Answer
Coronavirus and Your Money

Where's My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS's "Get My Payment" Tool to Get an Answer

The IRS has an online tool that lets you track the status of your third stimulus check.
April 4, 2021
37 Ways to Earn Extra Cash in 2021
business

37 Ways to Earn Extra Cash in 2021

We flag a wide variety of cool side hustles to earn bonus bucks to cover expenses expected and unexpected as we begin to emerge from the pandemic lock…
April 8, 2021

Recommended

37 Ways to Earn Extra Cash in 2021
business

37 Ways to Earn Extra Cash in 2021

We flag a wide variety of cool side hustles to earn bonus bucks to cover expenses expected and unexpected as we begin to emerge from the pandemic lock…
April 8, 2021
Escape from The Planet of the Lawyers
careers

Escape from The Planet of the Lawyers

A lot of lawyers out there are unhappy campers, but they don’t have to be. Anyone in the legal profession who is unhappy at work needs to realize they…
April 3, 2021
A New Chapter for This Bookstore
Coronavirus and Your Money

A New Chapter for This Bookstore

Katrina and COVID haven’t deterred the owner of a used bookstore from catering to his clientele.
March 24, 2021
Lawyer Asks: What Do I Do When Other Lawyers Falsely Bash Me?
careers

Lawyer Asks: What Do I Do When Other Lawyers Falsely Bash Me?

It’s natural to want to defend yourself from false claims, but a defamation lawsuit isn’t the way to go in this case, three experts advise. Here’s why…
March 8, 2021