What are the Best Languages to Learn for Your Career?

Learning a second language varies from something which is absolutely essential (and often second nature, something that seems as straightforward as learning one’s own native, or parental, language) to something which is totally unimportant, or just a nice-to-have.

In many parts of the world, people just have to learn more than one language, because the country they live in is officially multilingual, or it is impractical to survive or get ahead without learning at least one more language. Take Switzerland, where there are three (four with Romansch) official languages, or Malaysia, where three main ethnic groups speak totally different languages, and another, English, is widely used as well.

This isn’t the case in many other countries where the official language still reigns supreme. Take Australia, for example, where there are few incentives to learn any other language other than English, and LOTE (language other than English) is not a popular school subject. And yet, tens of thousands of Australians opt to learn another language. Many indigenous Australians who grow up speaking their own indigenous language first or migrant Australians who do the same, must learn English just to survive in modern Australia.

Many more people, worldwide, learn another language other than their native language to enhance their careers. But if there is a choice of languages to learn, and you are unsure which language would be the most useful, what do the statistics tell us about the most useful languages to learn for a career? Here is a list of the most popular languages in 2023.

The most popular languages to learn to help enhance one’s career (in alphabetical order)

  • English,
  • French,
  • German,
  • Italian, 
  • Japanese,
  • Mandarin Chinese,
  • Spanish.

How a second language could benefit your career

Being fluent in another language can assist you in building useful relationships with people from many other cultures both in the workplace and elsewhere The most suitable language that you should learn to enhance your career is one that will aid you in increasing your networks, forging enduring connections that will open up new doors for you both personally and professionally.

Obviously, you can’t just choose a language at random if thinking that doing so could improve your job prospects or enhance your opportunity to enhance your career. For example, if you were a native English speaker in the United States, Spanish would be a better choice for many people as a second language, simply because of the number of Spanish speakers. Being able to speak both English and Spanish fluently gives you a huge advantage over monolingual speakers in many employment environments. 

Learning German in Europe is an obvious plus for many Europeans, as the German economy is one of the largest in the world. Being able to speak German fluently gives the bilingual speaker advantages in business negotiations and this would be recognized by employers.

The list is really one that documents a combination of the number of native speakers together with a measure of global importance. So, French makes a list and not Indonesian, because Indonesian is limited in geographical extent, whereas French is more of an international language


Learning another language is essential for some and an opportunity for others. If you think that learning another language could enhance your career prospects, you do have to think carefully about which language would best fit your circumstances.