The UK’s supply of foreign language speakers is falling short, making British workers less attractive in the fight for international business jobs.
British speakers of traditionally popular languages, such as French, Spanish and German, are falling behind other countries’ more multilingual job applicants. Employers said that languages such as Arabic and Mandarin Chinese are growing in significance as trade with Asian countries becomes increasingly important.
Almost two-thirds of UK firms surveyed said that foreign language skills were highly valued, but with language qualifications becoming less and less popular in schools, Brits may be hampering their global employment opportunities. With foreign languages now being valued as highly as maths and science in many cases, it is vital that students in British schools continue to enjoy a rich and varied language education.
The UK Government is taking steps to make certain that British children continue to learn languages in schools to ensure the success of Britain’s future in the global marketplace. Foreign language teaching will now start at Key Stage 2, and students are being made aware of the importance of good language skills.
Europe remains the UK’s largest export market, explaining the value of Spanish, French and German. However, efforts to boost exports to Asia and Latin America are widening the range of languages employers are looking for.