Languages 'boost work and love'

01-11-2004

People who are able to speak foreign languages have increased earning power and are popular with the opposite sex, a report suggests.

Speaking a second language can increase an average worker's salary by �3,000 a year, or �145,000 in a lifetime.

Among higher earners the difference is even greater, the study for the Michel Thomas Language Centre says.

A survey of 2,700 firms found nine out of 10 thought their businesses could benefit from better language skills.

The sector most in need of language skills is media, sales and marketing, according to the companies surveyed.

Dating agencies

The study was carried out by business journalist Philip Beresford, who compiles the Sunday Times Rich List.

He suggests there is a personal benefit to having a second language, as well as a financial one.

He contacted 270 dating agencies in the UK and found 97% asked their clients if they had a second language.

The agencies said they did so because prospective daters saw someone with a foreign language as both more intelligent and sexier than other people.

Michel Thomas, whose business teaches languages in the US and the UK, said: "When I opened my language centre in Beverley Hills in 1947, I was convinced that learning another language could change your life for the better.

"Now, in the form of this report, we finally have concrete proof that this is the case."

This year the government removed the requirement for all children in England to study a foreign language to GCSE level.

The education inspectorate, Ofsted, said last month that less than half of the 16 year olds in deprived areas were studying a foreign language.

Instead, primary schools are being encouraged to give children foreign language lessons by 2010.

BBC News

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