Swedish language revealed as highest paying second language in the UK

Swedish language skills pay an average annual salary of £54,890

Welsh language skills see 18% pay rise over the past three years, also making the top 10 for most in-demand second languages

New data from job search engine Adzuna.co.uk revealed UK roles which require Swedish language skills pay more than those seeking any other second language. Swedish language skills boast an average annual salary of £54,890, well ahead of the national average advertised salary (£33,993).

Following Swedish, Arabic comes in second, offering an average salary of £41,100, £13,790 lower than the highest-paying top spot. Rounding off the top 10 best-paid language skills is Dutch (offering an average advertised salary of £38,206), Mandarin (£37,072), German (£36,717), Spanish (£35,661), Polish (£33,257), Russian (£33,023), French (£32,247) and Portuguese (£31,835).

Interestingly, the average advertised salary for candidates with Swedish language skills has risen a huge 115.5% since 2016. In fact, the average rise in advertised salaries for Swedish speakers in the UK is 72.0% higher than the second-fastest growing language skill, Mandarin, which increased by 43.5% in the same time frame.

Other language skills which British businesses have been increasingly willing to pay more for are Dutch (40.5% rise in salary over the past three years), Greek (39.2%), Arabic (38.0%), Polish (30.4%), Spanish (25.7%), Portuguese (24.9%) and Russian (20.5%) and Welsh (17.9%).

The research also revealed the most in-demand second language for UK companies, is French. Adzuna currently has 15,288 live jobs in the UK seeking this skill-set. This is very slowly followed by German (8,876), Italian (4,623), Spanish (4,047), Dutch (3,843), Polish (2,940), Mandarin (2,613), Arabic (1,568) and Welsh (1,441). Swedish sits just shy of the top 10 – in position 12 – with 1,100 live vacancies requiring this language skill.

With a 131.7% rise over the past three years, the data shows French language skills have become increasingly important for UK businesses. But what is perhaps surprising, is despite easily being the most in-demand language by British companies, these companies are unwilling to pay dearly for it. Compared against other second languages, French language skills demand some of the lowest average advertised salaries right now (£32,247).

In contrast, Mandarin has not only seen the biggest rise in vacancies since 2016 (233.2%) but also sits in the third position for some of the highest paying salaries (£37,072). Meanwhile, Danish (-61.4%), Greek (-53.5%) and Russian (-34.7%) have all seen a decline in vacancies, showcasing a reduced demand in these language skills.

The research also revealed certain industries have a higher demand for selected languages. While overall the demand for French-speaking candidates is 41.9% higher than those with Italian language skills, the Hospitality and Catering industry has more vacancies looking for Italian-speakers (1,547) than it does French-speakers (1,095).

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, comments: “As a job-seeker, highlighting your language skills can be very important; as the data shows, for some, keeping up the fluency of your second, third or even fourth language, can pay big and there is a lot of appetite out there.

Looking at our 2019 data it may be no shock that French is the most in-demand language for UK employers, but perhaps it’s a surprise – and delight – to see the Welsh language holding its own against more widely spoken languages. It’s interesting to see the growing demand and monetary value placed on Mandarin language skills; this could illustrate the important ties with the Asian market in the run-up to the exit of the European Union.”

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