SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) — Speaking a foreign language, especially English, can mean at least two to three times the amount of money earned in the Middle East compared to those who are not fluent in a foreign tongue, a new Euromonitor International and the British Council in Egypt study revealed.
According to the findings, foreign languages are key to breaking from lower paying positions.
Nic Humphries, the British Council’s Director of English in the MENA region said, “The study shows that the English language can change lives throughout the Middle East, as it opens many doors to those who can speak it, allowing them to develop in various sectors.”
Across the region, those able to speak English were even better suited for positions, the study found, with those earning an additional amount of income.
In Tunisia, English speakers earn five percent more than regular employees, while in Egypt those able to speak English received nearly double the salary of those who didn’t.
But Iraq was the highest, with the capital Baghdad paying premium rates for English, up to 200 percent more, the report said.
The report said that English speakers were fast growing, with the region to see a five to 7 percent increase over the next four years as foreign companies demand more multilingual employees.
“Young people in the region are aware of the importance of the English language – not only in the job market, but also in the online world, as most social networks are administered in English,” said the report.
The report did advise governments in the region to boost the quality of English education in public schools, arguing that the highest quality of English instruction remains in the private sector.
“Yet, most people do not have enough income to send their children to private schools, and thus, the level of spoken English language in MENA is not as advanced as it should be,” it noted, meaning a cycle of wealthy English-speaking families are maintaining their stranglehold on the job market, especially in countries such as Egypt.— www.shafaqna.com/english/