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Languages for Business

In today's world of globalisation the importance of language diversity in business is growing. Even though English is still a dominant language in international business arena, power dynamics are shifting as other countries grow stronger in the market. Mandarin Chinese, French, Arabic, Spanish and Russian are ranked as the most influential in business. Of course it is all relevant and dependent on individual companies' area of development, such as Korean and Japanese being the languages of the electronics market or Arabic being important for oil suppliers. One could even frame learning a foreign language as an investment!

Britain plays a very important role in the European economy and is a valuable member of EU. Most of international businesses invest a lot in supporting their employees through learning another language that will benefit them in their workplace. However, in the UK, the numbers of companies that place significant value on language skills are not that high due to cultural reasons and because of the financial pressure some might be suffering. Statistics show that only 10% of the world's population are English native speakers although a lot more speak English as their 2nd or foreign language. Seeing these figures it is a good idea to learn another language as the best way to communicate to non-English speakers in their own language.

The European Union provides a number of opportunities to boost employees' knowledge of languages through different programmes and campaigns. They suggest forums and information campaigns for both small businesses and large corporations. The EU has set up a working group 'Languages for Work' under the Education and Training 2020 framework which created a report on provision of language skills for the labour market and challenges related to it. It urges to put language learning in a professional context which in turn will improve learner motivation.

Learning a foreign language for business also increases cultural awareness which will not only make communication with other parties much easier but will also widen your knowledge of different societies and cultures. It will obviously enhance your mobility chances and provide you with an opportunity for a work placement abroad. There are a number of vocational learning strategies for adult learners complementing career changes that will allow you to learn a language in a quick and efficient way.