Do You Get Paid More if You Speak Another Language?

Article in partnership with Day Translations.

Do you get paid more if you speak another language? The simple answer to this question is: Yes. Let’s elaborate on this a bit further.

If Forbes Says Speaking Languages Will Earn You a Bigger Salary, You Listen

Look, it’s not just me saying that being able to speak more than one language will get you far in your career and your earning potential. When Forbes chips in with their take on this topic, you better pay attention and take notes.

Let’s start with a few figures. People who are bilingual have the potential to earn between 5% and 20% more per hour compared to those who only speak one language (source: LinkedIn). One of the reasons is that the demand for people who are fluent in more than one language is increasing as business has become more globalised.

Multilingual employees can also be strategic resources for employers, because they bring into an organisation a set of soft skills such as an understanding of the customers’ perspective when they are based in a different country and making the correct cultural references when dealing with them. Multilingual people tend to have better interpersonal skills and mental agility. In other words, each interaction with international customers will feel more authentic to them, therefore building a sense of trust.

Forbes has been covering the topic of how speaking languages helps your career and earning prospects a number of times. For example in a 2023 article it looked at the payoff from investing time and money into learning a second language (or more languages), saying that it ranges from improved career prospects to giving you more visibility as a candidate in your job search and selection process.

Quoting studies about students who can speak multiple languages, Forbes discovered that knowing more than one language gives students a competitive edge in exams as their problem-solving skills are above average, ultimately earning them higher scores in tests.

What Language Can Make You the Most Money?

Additionally, the Forbes article refers to polls among multilingual people who confirmed that they earned about 20% more than those who could only speak one language. The article highlighted the languages that are in most demand and that are likely to attract higher salaries:

  • Portuguese
  • Vietnamese
  • Chinese
  • French
  • Russian.

Another Forbes article published in 2023 note that not only the demand for job candidates who speak multiple languages in on the rise, but also that the number of roles for professional language interpreters has expanded in the past few years, according to figures published by the US Department of Labor.

Is It Easier to Get a Job if You Speak Multiple Languages?

Quoting other sources of studies, the same article says that those who speak more languages see a 35% increase in salaries and job offers, while employers predict that their demand for candidates who can speak multiple languages is going to increase by more than 50% in the coming years.

Additionally, the article argues that speaking multiple languages offers more job security, which can be very useful when many employers are faced with making cuts to their workforce in response to the need to reduce costs or changed market conditions.

Does Speaking Multiple Languages Mean that You Get Paid More?

According to the Washington Technical Institute, there are many advantages of speaking a second language that range from getting invited to more job interviews to being considered for a promotion and getting a pay rise. It quotes that the languages that are most in demand and that are likely to attract higher salaries are:

  • Arabic,
  • Mandarin,
  • Spanish,
  • German,
  • French,
  • Portuguese,
  • Japanese,
  • Hindi.

To answer the question of whether speaking another language language affect income in a positive way and whether it means that you get paid more, the available sources point in the direction of a correlation between knowing how to speak a second language (or being multilingual) and having both more job opportunities available as well as having the opportunity to earn a higher salary compared to those who only speak one language.