Best Languages to Learn to Get Ahead in Your Career

In this increasingly global economy, learning a new language, especially one less-studied by your competitors in the job market, can greatly boost your chances of landing lucrative work.

(Image credit: Thinkstock)

In this increasingly global economy, learning a new language, especially one less-studied by your competitors in the job market, can greatly boost your chances of landing lucrative work. In 2014 alone, nearly half a million job postings in the U.S. specifically requested foreign-language proficiency. Many more hiring managers will look favorably upon bilingual candidates. After all, recent studies (opens in new tab) suggest that bilingual brains process information more efficiently than their monolingual counterparts.

To build our ranking, we began with a list of the 23 languages (opens in new tab) with the most native speakers, ranging from Mandarin Chinese to Farsi, the Persian language of Iran. With the help of Burning Glass Technologies, a job-market analytics firm, we ranked the languages according to their value in the job market—both in the U.S. and in other English-speaking countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom. We also spoke to labor experts to project growth in demand for each language.

Take a look at the 10 best languages for your career.

Christian Ruhl
Intern, Kiplinger.com
Christian is an editorial intern at Kiplinger. He also interned at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is a junior majoring in Art History at Williams College, studying at Oxford through the Williams-Exeter Program. He is Executive Editor of the Williams Record (the source of a fictitious scandal in Netflix's House of Cards) and speaks several languages. Previously, Christian has worked at an MRI lab, an art museum, and an archaeological excavation in Guatemala.