MONEY TALKS: Learn this language and earn £50k+, research reveals

  • A new study has revealed that speaking a second language is likely to earn you a salary of up £50,000

  • The top five languages with the highest salaries are revealed, along with the least lucrative

  • Those who speak Turkish as a second language can expect to earn the highest yearly salary, with an average of more than £53,000

Less than one in 10 Brits (8%)* can fluently speak a second language, but a new study has revealed that speaking a second language can actually help you earn a higher salary.


The study, conducted by adult-learning college, City Lit, has revealed that those who speak both English and Turkish can expect to earn the highest salary of all 21 common languages, taking home average earnings of £53,071.


Those who also speak Gujarati – a language native to the Indian state of Gujarat – will see their income boosted, with an average salary of £44,109 per annum. If you speak Chinese (any form) as a second language, you’ll be the third highest earner, with an average salary of £42,327.


Those who can speak sign language will earn the least, with a salary of £21,333, 22% lower than the UK average salary of £27,200*.


Despite – or perhaps because of – French being the most common second language spoken, it’s one of the lowest earnings. Nearly half of Brits (47%) claim to speak French as a second language, and can earn an average salary of £27,722. This equals a £25,349 difference between those speaking French and those who earn the most by speaking a second language.


Even though it seems that speaking a second language can earn you a high salary, only 8%** of Brits can fluently speak a second language.


The highest and lowest earners are below:


  • Turkish – £53,071

  • Gujarati – £44,109

  • Chinese (any form) – £42,327

  • Somalian – £42,167

  • Italian – £39,236



  • Sign language – £21,333

  • Welsh – £23,321

  • Lithuanian – £24,643

  • Bengali – £25,955

  • French – £27,722

Commenting on the findings, Chris Jones, Director of Sales and Marketing at City Lit, said: “Being able to speak a second language is always desirable to employers and has real social value too, so it’s great to see that being able to speak another language has a positive impact on salaries.


“Learning a second language is easier than you think, and there are lots of tips available to help you along your linguistic journey!”


To help the nation become more bilingual, City Lit have put together some handy tips on how to stay motivated when learning a new language.

Full table of average yearly earnings according to second language spoken



Average yearly earning









Chinese (any form)
































Sign language



About City Lit


City Lit is London’s largest provider of short courses for adults. Founded in 1919, it has provided adult education in central London for almost a century. City Lit helps learners from a variety of backgrounds and social circumstances from all London boroughs, to challenge themselves and unlock their potential in boosting confidence and giving their creative sides a chance to grow.  

City Lit has adapted and innovated to meet London’s changing needs, providing more than just adult education courses – as the offer helps combat loneliness; develop new skills to improve employability; career change retooling for those later in life; offer a sense of purpose and fulfilment; improve confidence; overcome mental health difficulties; and make London a better place.

The college now runs around 5,000 courses per year, and handles nearly 60,000 enrolments.

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