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5 Business Languages You Should Know To Get Ahead In Your Career As A Kenyan Entrepreneur

The future of business is global, and there’s no getting around learning top business languages to survive.

By 2025, 50% of the world’s biggest companies will be based in emerging markets. This is up by 10 folds from only 5% in 2000.

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CareerBuilder.com’s hiring forecast showed that 39 percent of U.S. employers said, they plan to hire bilingual candidates, and half said that if they had two equally qualified candidates, they would be more inclined to hire the bilingual one.

What’s more, salary bonuses vary depending on which languages you’re able to speak. Here’s a quick breakdown of a few different secondary languages and their annual bonuses as reported by The Economist:

  • Spanish — 1.5 percent bonus
  • French — 2.3 percent bonus
  • German — 3.8 percent bonus
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This means that you can make an additional $50,000 to $125,000 just for knowing how to speak a foreign language!

5 Top Spoken Business Languages You Should Know To Get Ahead

To arrive at our 5 top spoken business languages, we took a number of factors into account.

The first one is the number of native speakers. While this shouldn’t be the only factor you take into account when choosing what business language you should learn, there is a noticeable correlation of how impactful it would be.

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The second is comparing countries with the largest GDP’s in the past (2010) and where they will be in the future (2020). While there are smaller variables taken into account, these two factors can help us narrow down the 5 top spoken business languages you should know to get ahead in your career.

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1. English (365 Million Native Speakers)

English is the obvious first choice when it comes to the top business languages. With economic powerhouses like the U.S, the U.K, and Australia, there’s no getting around English. Even when you’re speaking with native speakers from other countries, it’s likely that they speak English as their second language. Since most of the readers here are already English speakers, we’ll keep this section short and concise.

2. German (92 Million Native Speakers)

German is a perfect example demonstrating that the best languages shouldn’t be based on the number of native speakers in the world. Not only is it Europe’s largest economic powerhouse, with a GDP of 2.4 trillion Euros, but it’s also the largest export market for British goods.

Anyone seeking a job in the U.K, Austria, Germany, or anywhere that’s doing business with the companies (nearly everyone) in Germany, understanding the differences between ‘danke’ and ‘Ihr willkommen’ is critical.

3. Russian (160 Million Native Speakers)

Germany may have the largest export market for the U.K, but Russia is the U.K’s fastest-growing major export market. While there are fruitful opportunities to work with companies in Russia, there aren’t as many fluent English speakers that live in Russia, and knowing how to speak Russian comes with a big advantage.

4. Spanish (406 Million Native Speakers)

Recognized as one of the most popular European languages, Spanish is a beloved language not only in terms of usefulness in business, but in many areas of society. It’s the leading language that fuels many of the fastest-growing Latin economies in South America, Central America, and North America (Mexico).

Given that it’s the second most spoken language in the U.S, with over 20 countries around the world that uses Spanish as their official language, 37% of American employers prefer hiring people who know how to speak Spanish.

5. Mandarin (935 Million Native Speakers)

With just under a billion native speakers around the world, Mandarin has more native speakers than English and Spanish combined. This makes it one of the most attractive places in the world for businesses to target and a great investment for any professional to make today.

Bloomberg has also ranked Mandarin as the number one business language to know after English.

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