What to do with a languages degree?

Speaking a second language can provide career opportunities across the world

Speaking additional languages can open up a world of career opportunity, particularly in the UK job market where the number of native English speakers with a strong ability in another language is low. Careers in translation, consultation, teaching and communication are often the highest in demand across industries including hospitality, logistics, marketing and education.

A language degree provides more than simply proficiency in another language but develops your communication skills across speaking, listening, reading and writing, improves your attention to detail and problem solving abilities and often boosts an individual’s self-esteem and confidence. All of which are key transferable skills that many employers look for in potential hires.

Our SCITT teacher training courses enable us to support language degree graduates through their personal and career development and help provide access to train to teach opportunities for roles including:

  • Head of Languages.
  • Head of the Modern Languages department.
  • Specialist Leader in Education.
  • Head of Year or Key Stage.
  • Senior leadership roles.
  • Working as a coach, mentor, trainer or facilitator.

What do modern languages degree graduates do?


Using your skills to translate a source text into a target language across a huge range of materials – a skill in great demand with businesses and organisations working in multiple countries.


Teaching opportunities include secondary and private school placements in the UK and abroad and your linguistic experience lends itself to teaching EFL (English as a foreign language).


Many multinational industries require keen problem solvers to consult on a wide array of topics and often hire language graduates for their experience and confidence in working with other cultures.

Overseas work

Choosing to work abroad long-term can be a popular option for modern language graduates but requires careful research into available skilled positions in their chosen country and the work visa process.

Where are they now?

Using data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency’s Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) 2016/17 survey, Prospect’s What do graduates do? 2018/19 report published in October 2018 provides an insight into the lives of 8,340 first-degree language graduates six months after they had graduated.

Working Outcomes

42.1% Working full-time in the UK

21% In Further Study

10.7% Working part-time in the UK

9.1% Working Overseas

6% Other

5.5% Working and Studying

5.6% Unemployed, including those due to start work

Further Study (1,320 Graduates)

58.7% Studying for a Masters (MA, MSc, etc)

22.9% Studying for a Postgraduate Qualification in Education

5.4% Studying for a Doctorate (PhD, DPhil, MPhil, etc)

5.4% Studying for other postgraduate diplomas

4.7% Other study

2.8% Studying for a professional qualification

Industry type breakdown for language graduates

Of 3,650 language graduates in employment, they were working in the following industries:


Marketing, PR and sales


Business, HR and finance


Retail, catering, waiting and bar staff


Clerical, secretarial and numerical clerks


Education professionals


Arts, design and media




Legal, social and welfare


Other occupations


Other professionals, associate professionals and technicians


Childcare, health and education


Information technology professionals


Science professions


Engineering and construction


Health professionals


Unknown professions

Train to teach with National Modern Languages

With a growing demand for modern languages teachers and increasing support from the government, there is plenty of career opportunity available in the education sector for language degree graduates. When you train to teach through one of our teacher training PGCE courses, you’ll get a chance to work in two of our fantastic partner schools to gain hands-on experience in the classroom. You’ll also work one-to-one with a mentor to build your individual training plan that will outline your journey towards achieving Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and receiving your Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).

Register with us

For tailored advice and information about a career in teaching MFL.
We'd love to talk to you. Fill in the form below and we'll be in touch, so you can find out more.