A dictionary

What are In-Demand Languages: A Comprehensive Guide

We are living in a globalized world and for success in this connected age, we must expand our social networks. Learning multiple languages can help us expand our networks. People like to talk in their native languages and therefore who want to do business or secure a job in the international market then he must learn a second language. Learning additional in-demand languages can give you a competitive advantage in the job market and open up new opportunities for personal and professional growth. According to careful estimates, more than 7000 languages are spoken in the world today.

With such a huge number of spoken languages, choosing a language for learning can be confusing. Here we will take a look at the most in-demand languages that you can learn. With these languages, you can get a competitive edge over your competitors – whether in business or in the job market. 

In-Demand Languages

Though a language may rise to prominence due to factors like geopolitical considerations, economic trends, and cultural values, but however, some languages are consistently sought-after by employers and individuals alike. Here is a list of the top ten in-demand languages complied by the British Council.

  • Spanish
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • French
  • Arabic
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Turkish
  • Japanese

Advantages of Learning In-Demand Languages

A student learning one of the in-demand languages

There are many advantages to learning in-demand languages. Some of the advantages are listed below.

  • Enriching your cultural awareness and appreciation
  • Increasing your career prospects and earning potential
  • Enhancing your cognitive abilities and memory retention
  • Boosting your confidence and communication skills
  • Opening up travel and study abroad opportunities

Comparison of Popular In-Demand Languages

Besides the above-mentioned ten in-demand languages, there are also several other popular languages that one can learn. Below is a brief comparison of some of the most popular in-demand languages, ranked from easiest to hardest to learn.

  • Spanish: This first on our list of in-demand languages is Spanish. Spanish is considered one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn. This language has comparatively simple grammar and pronunciation. Therefore, only about 600 hours of learning and practice are needed for attaining professional proficiency in the Spanish language.
  • French: The French language is another easy language to learn. Like Spanish, it has also a simple grammar and vocabulary, but French has relatively more complex pronunciation and spelling. For attaining professional proficiency in the French language, about 750 hours of learning and practice are needed.
  • German: Unlike Spanish and French, German is a moderately difficult language because of its complex grammar and However, it shares many similarities with English and can be learned relatively quickly with immersion or structured lessons. It takes around 900 hours to reach a professional working proficiency in the German language.
  • Portuguese: Like the German language, about 900 hours of learning and practice are needed for attaining professional proficiency in the Portuguese language. Portuguese grammar and vocabulary are simple but the language has some unique nasal vowels which makes it a moderately difficult language to learn.
  • Mandarin Chinese: Unlike the previously-mentioned European languages, Mandarin Chinese is considered one of the most challenging languages for English speakers. The specific tonal system, complex writing system, and vast vocabulary of this language make it one of the toughest foreign languages for English speakers. It takes around 2200 hours to reach a professional working proficiency.
  • Arabic: Finally, Arabic is last on our list of in-demand languages. Arabic language is another challenging language for English speakers because of its complex grammar, diverse dialects, and unfamiliar sounds. Like Mandarin Chinese, it takes around 2200 hours of learning and practice to reach a professional working proficiency in the Arabic language.

Choosing the Right Language

Two students learning new language

There is a fairly long list of in-demand languages and it is beyond human capacity to learn all of the in-demand languages. So, one must decide about learning one or two additional in-demand languages. Choosing a desired foreign language for learning is a subjective matter. Everyone has specific needs, motivations, and learning styles which he must take into consideration while choosing a foreign language to learn.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Language

Though there are varied factors that motivate an individual for learning a new language. But the following are some of the most common factors that a majority of people do consider when choosing in-demand languages to learn.

Personal Interests and Goals

Personal interests and goals play a pivotal role in language selection. Learning a language that aligns with your hobbies, passions, or goals can make the process more enjoyable and meaningful. For example, if you love traveling to China or want to do business, or secure a job in the Chinese market, learning Chinese may be more rewarding than learning Portuguese.

Job Market Demand

The international job market is becoming more easily accessible with each passing day and if you are learning a language primarily for career reasons, then you should go for a language that is in high demand in your industry or region. Research job postings and market trends to determine which languages are most sought after is the best way to choose the right language.

Accessibility of Resources

Besides personal and professional reasons, accessibility of resources also plays an important role in selecting an appropriate language. Some languages may be harder to learn because of limited resources, such as textbooks, tutors, or language exchange partners. If you have limited access to resources for a specific language, then it may more difficult for you to master that specific language and vice versa.

Difficulty Level

Finally, certain languages are easier to learn for English speakers as compared to other foreign languages. Also, some languages share similar grammar or vocabulary with English, while others have complex writing or sound systems that require more time and effort to master. This difficulty factor also plays a role in the selection of a foreign language for learning.

After discussing the most common factors that affect our decision when it comes to selecting a foreign language, in the next section, we will take a look at the duration required for mastering a new language.

How Long Does It Take to Learn a New Language?

A book and cup of coffee

Like language selection, the amount of time it takes to learn a language also depends on various factors, such as:

1. The Language Proficiency Levels

Before embarking on the journey of mastering a new language, you must be aware of the various language proficiency levels. Generally, language proficiency is measured on a scale from A1 to C2, with A1 being the lowest level of proficiency and C2 being the highest. Here is a breakdown of the language proficiency levels:

  • A1: A1 is the Beginner level and at this level, a student can understand and use basic phrases and expressions of the language.
  • A2: A2 is the Elementary level and at this level, a student can communicate about familiar topics and understand simple texts.
  • B1: B1 is the Intermediate level and at this level, a student can handle most situations while traveling or working and participate in conversations on various topics.
  • B2: B2 is the Upper intermediate level and at this level, a student can express opinions and arguments, understand complex texts, and interact fluently with native speakers.
  • C1: C1 is considered an Advanced level. Advanced-level learners can use the language effectively for academic or professional purposes, understand subtle nuances, and adapt to different registers and contexts.
  • C2: Finally, C2 is the highest level of language proficiency. It is known as the Mastery level and at this level, an individual can understand and produce complex or abstract ideas, use the language creatively, and interact with native speakers fluently and spontaneously.

2. Factors that Affect Learning Time

After understanding the language proficiency levels, let’s take a look at the factors that affect our learning time. According to research by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), it takes around 480 hours to reach basic fluency in group 1 languages like Spanish and French, and around 720 hours for group 2-4 languages like German, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese, and Arabic. Assuming you can dedicate 10 hours per day to learning a language, you can achieve basic fluency in easy languages in 48 days, and in difficult languages in 72 days. However, these estimates may vary depending on:

  • Your previous language learning experience and background knowledge of the language.
  • Your motivation, discipline, and learning style.
  • The quality and intensity of your learning materials and methods.
  • Your exposure to the language through immersion, travel, or interaction with native speakers.

3. Tips for Efficient Learning

Here are some tips and tricks which can help you to learn a new language in less time.

  • Set realistic goals.
  • Track your progress.
  • Diversify your learning materials and methods (e.g., textbooks, apps, podcasts, movies).
  • Focus on building essential skills like listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
  • Practice regularly, ideally every day, even for short periods.
  • Get feedback from tutors, language partners, or language exchange programs.
  • Immerse yourself in the language and culture as much as possible, through travel, media consumption, and social events.

Learning Resources for In-Demand Languages

Dictionary - an excellent learning resource

One of the most important factors that affect your learning is the availability of and accessibility to learning resources of in-demand languages. There are many learning resources available for any subject and language in this digital age. Just you have to choose your desired learning resource. Depending upon your preferences, you can either learn a new language online or offline, self-paced, or through structured classes. Here are some popular learning resources that are available for learning in-demand languages.

Online Courses and Tutorials

Online language courses and tutorials are easily available on the internet. Many websites such as Coursera, edx, FutureLearn, and language-specific platforms like Yoyo Chinese (for Mandarin) or TalkInArabic.com (for Arabic) offer online courses which you can take for learning a new language. Generally, such courses comprise video lessons, quizzes, interactive exercises, and forums where you can ask questions and interact with other learners.

Language Learning Apps

Besides online courses and language tutorials, there are also numerous language learning apps available for smartphones and tablets. Some of the popular language learning apps are Duolingo, Memrise, Rosetta Stone, Babbel, and Drops. These apps use gamification techniques, flashcards, and spaced repetition algorithms to help you learn vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation in a fun and engaging way.

Language Exchange Programs

In addition to these online resources, there are several language exchange programs, such as Tandem, Speaky, and ConversationExchange, are available that allow you to connect with native speakers of your target language. With these unique programs, you can practice speaking via text chat, voice calls, or video calls.

Immersion Programs

Unlike the language exchange programs, Immersion programs are intensive language courses and these programs take place in the country where the target language is spoken. These programs often combine classroom instruction with cultural activities, field trips, and opportunities to practice the language in real-life situations. Popular immersion program providers include CIEE, EF, and GoAbroad.

Tips for Success in Learning In-Demand Languages

A student learning in-demand languages

Here are some tips and tricks that can help you maximize your chances of success in learning in-demand languages. 

i. Setting Goals and Creating a Study Plan

You should follow the SMART technique for learning a new language. SMART technique refers to setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for your language learning journey. In addition, you must devise an effective and realistic study plan that outlines the resources and methods you will use, the skills you will focus on, and the time you will allocate to each task.

ii. Practicing Regularly

Setting achievable goals and having an effective study plan is not enough for mastering a new language. Besides these two steps, you must practice your target language every day consistently. Also, try to incorporate different language-oriented activities into your routine, such as listening to podcasts, reading news articles, writing journal entries, and speaking with native speakers.

iii. Finding a Language Partner or Tutor

In addition to learning resources and taking lessons, working with a language partner or tutor can help you stay motivated, receive feedback, and improve your speaking and listening skills. Look for language exchange programs, conversation clubs, or online tutoring platforms like iTalki or Preply to find the right match for your needs.

iv. Immersing Yourself in the Language and Culture

Finally, immersing yourself in the culture of in-demand languages is critically important. All of your learning will go in vain if you are unaware of the culture of the language that you are learning. For cultural awareness, you must immerse yourself in your target language by consuming media like movies, TV shows, music, and podcasts, joining cultural events or meetups, and connecting with native speakers through social media, pen pal programs, or language exchange apps. With these cultural activities, you will gain invaluable insights into the culture of your target language and you will become more comfortable with the language.

Career Opportunities with In-Demand Languages

Labors working on the site

We have already discussed in the earlier section the advantages of learning one or more in-demand languages. But here are some other career prospects for learning in-demand languages.

Job Market Demand

As businesses and organizations become more global, the demand for professionals with high-demand language skills is on the rise. According to a survey by the British Council, 62% of UK employers consider foreign language skills to be important, while 28% of them have experienced language-related obstacles while doing business internationally.

Industries that Require International Languages

Though there is a demand for multilingual individuals in a wide range of industries and service sectors. But the following industries and services essentially require multilingual skills.

  • International business and trade
  • Tourism and hospitality
  • Government and diplomacy
  • Healthcare and social services
  • Education and academia
  • Non-profit and development work
  • Media and communications
  • Translation and interpretation
  • Human rights and climate-related groups
  • Archaeological Jobs / Missions
  • International Organizations and watchdogs

Types of Jobs Available for Multilingual Individuals

With proficiency in one or more in-demand languages, you can easily secure a job, especially in the following industries.

  • Foreign language teacher or tutor
  • Translator or interpreter
  • International sales or marketing manager
  • Customer service representative
  • Flight attendant or tour guide
  • Journalist or content creator
  • Diplomat or foreign affairs officer
  • Project manager for international development organizations


In conclusion, learning one or more in-demand languages can be a rewarding experience and can be a worthy investment in your personal and professional growth. But you must choose in-demand languages carefully and then commit yourself to learning and mastering quickly. You should choose the right language, set clear goals, use diverse learning resources, and immerse yourself in the language and culture and you will unlock new opportunities and enrich your life in countless ways.

Frequently Asked Questions

 Q: What are some in-demand languages in the job market?

A: Some in-demand languages include Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, German, and French. Learning these in-demand languages can increase your employability and open doors to various industries.

Q: Which industries require multilingual skills the most?

A: Industries with a high demand for multilingual individuals include international business and trade, tourism and hospitality, government and diplomacy, healthcare and social services, education and academia, non-profit and development work, media and communications, translation and interpretation, and international organizations.

Q: What types of jobs are available for multilingual individuals?

A: Jobs for multilingual individuals include foreign language teacher or tutor, translator or interpreter, international sales or marketing manager, customer service representative, flight attendant or tour guide, journalist or content creator, diplomat or foreign affairs officer, and project manager for international development organizations.

Q: How can I choose the right in-demand languages to learn?

A: For learning in-demand languages, consider factors such as your personal interests, career goals, and the prevalence of the language in your target industry or region. Research job market trends and consult with professionals in your desired field to make an informed decision.

Q: What are some tips for learning and mastering a new language quickly?

A: Set clear goals, use diverse learning resources (e.g., online courses, books, language exchange programs), practice regularly, and immerse yourself in the language and culture through travel, movies, and conversations with native speakers. Consistency and dedication are key to mastering a new language.

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