08 February 2018

English, French and German: An Important Trio for UK Businesses


Last year’s CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey 2017 revealed a number of interesting insights into the priorities of UK firms, and the skills required to ensure their continued economic success. Principle among these skills was language proficiency, with French (for 51% of UK businesses surveyed) and German (47%) continuing to hold the top spots when it comes to in-demand language skills.

This survey reinforces what we see all the time at Simon & Simon – a requirement for language learning training to equip businesses with the skills they need to thrive. Alongside English, we can agree that French and German are hugely popular languages to learn. But what makes this trio of languages so attractive to UK firms?

This blog takes a quick look at some of the reasons why these languages are so integral to success. Next week, we will dive further into the survey’s results to explore some of the other languages that are considered important for UK businesses.

French: The language of a European neighbour with global reach

French is more than a neighbouring language for the UK – it is actually spoken in more than 50 countries around the world, making it the third most wide-reaching language (behind English and Arabic). It may also surprise you to learn that it is the second most popular language to learn around the world, topped only by English (and way ahead of other popular languages such as Chinese and Spanish).

German: The language of the business centre of Europe

Whatever happens with Brexit in the coming weeks, months and years, Europe will continue to be a key trading partner for the UK – and Germany and France are huge export markets for UK goods. German and French (along with English) are also in the top 12 languages spoken worldwide – over two-thirds of the world’s population speaks one of these 12 languages.

German is also a strategically and economically important language to learn – Germany is a major centre for global trade, and it holds centre stage in Europe, too.

English: The global language of business

Ah, English. It may seem obvious to bring the UK’s native language into the mix, but it is also in major demand as a second language: it is spoken in over 100 countries, and a staggering 1.5 billion people are learning English around the world. It is therefore no wonder that English continues to be thought of as the global language of business. Learning English – or investing in developing the business English skills of your colleagues – may therefore be pivotal for businesses in a globally diverse world, especially one where organisations are employing talented individuals from around the world.

Introducing language learning to your organisation enables your business to become globally competitive, and English, French and German language skills can be central to future business success. Talk to Simon & Simon today to find out more about our language learning courses in Central London and beyond – and look out for next week’s blog, where we further unravel the CBI/Pearson survey’s findings.

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