German overtakes French as the language most sought-after by employers

Fewer EU nationals looking for work in the UK amid Brexit uncertainty, coupled with a drop in language learning in schools, causing a 'worsening language shortfall'


Alan Jones
Wednesday 10 April 2019 11:33 BST
Is there a critical period for language learning?

German has overtaken French as the language most sought-after by employers, amid fears that companies face a shortfall of linguists, new research suggests.

Jobs site Indeed said vacancies specifying German language skills increased by more than a tenth over the past three years, compared with only a slight rise in demand for French speakers.

Chinese is now the third most popular language for companies seeking to recruit, the study indicated.

Overall demand for linguists slightly increased in recent years, leading to fears that there will not be enough suitably skilled people to fill jobs, said Indeed.

Its report said fewer European Union (EU) nationals looking for work in the UK amid Brexit uncertainty, coupled with a drop in language learning in schools, was causing a "worsening language shortfall."

Bill Richards, UK managing director of Indeed, said: "Communication is essential in every sphere of work, and language skills in particular have become vital in a fully-connected world in which more businesses than ever operate across borders and in multiple languages. Many UK employers who require multilingual staff are becoming increasingly unsettled as a perfect storm brews - fewer linguists are emerging from our education system just as Brexit uncertainty looks to be deterring workers relocating here from the EU.

"English is a global language, but that cannot always offset the need for fluent speakers of other languages. While the UK market clearly continues to offer many opportunities for those with additional language skills, there is a danger of a shortfall emerging as insufficient supply butts up against rising demand."

Press Association

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