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Excellent employment prospects for graduates with Dutch

13 December 2011

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The excellent employment prospects of graduates with Dutch and intercultural skills, as taught by the department (see Careers with Dutch) have been corroborated by the recent report on “Labour Market Intelligence on Languages and Intercultural Skills in Higher Education” by Sean Mulkerne & Anne Marie Graham (May 2011), commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the University Council for Modern Languages (UCML).

The report presents the results of research into the labour market for graduates and highlights the good employment prospects, even in times of recession, for graduate with languages in general and Dutch in particular. We list a few quotes below:  

56. “Of the 1000 job listings analysed, there is a clear demand for the four modern foreign languages most commonly studied at university: French, German, Spanish, and Italian. Together, the four languages account for well over half of all requests in any sector. Dutch was the fifth most requested language [in job listings] – with more requests than Swedish, Russian, or Mandarin.”

90. "These numbers correlate with separate qualitative responses from survey participants indicating that German, French, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, and Mandarin/Cantonese are the most in demand from their clients. They also frequently reported that Dutch, Finnish and Scandinavian languages are in demand."

127. "The popularity of Dutch is particularly interesting, as it emphasises the need to speak the language of your trading partners, even if they already have a good working knowledge of English. Graduates with language skills may have a distinct recruitment advantage."

163. "Within specific sectors, the Euro London report finds a significant increase in demand for languages from sales and trading teams in emerging markets such as Poland, Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Dutch and German speakers are in demand in management, while Russian speakers are often requested by private banking employers. Japanese is used in banking support services where client relationships are integral to business operations. German, Dutch and Scandinavian languages are in demand in business development roles, while Croatian and Norwegian are popular for customer-facing roles. Japanese, Arabic, and Mandarin are frequently requested alongside European languages in technical support roles. French remains the most requested language across all sectors."

248. "There remains considerable demand from employers for French and German in particular, despite a sustained period of decline in take-up in secondary and higher education. This is not surprising, given that Germany and France, combined with Francophone Belgium & Luxembourg, form two of the UK’s largest export and import markets. Dutch and the Scandinavian languages were also commonly requested, as a result of the UK’s trading relationship with the Netherlands and Northern European countries."

The whole report “Labour Market Intelligence on Languages and Intercultural Skills in Higher Education” can be accessed on the UCML website.

At UCL studying you can study Dutch on its own or combine Dutch with studying a second language (French, Spanish, Italian, German, a Scandinavian or an Eastern European language, etc.) or a second subject like Management Studies, Science and Communication, English, History of Art, and many more.

Why Study Dutch?

1. Neighbour language

Map of the Benelux countries in Europe

Dutch is a Germanic language spoken by more than 23 million native speakers in the Netherlands and in Belgium, as well as in Suriname in South America. It is also widely understood in former colonies such as the Dutch Caribbean and Indonesia. Moreover Afrikaans which is spoken by millions in South Africa and Namibia, is to a large extent intelligible if you know Dutch

2. Cultural Significance

Famous read and blue chair by Gerrit Rietveld (1917)

You gain a thorough knowledge – which is fairly uncommon – of a European region which, despite its modest size, has made an enormous contribution in many different fields, from literature and the visual arts, architecture and interior design to popular music and sport, the modern welfare state etc.

3. Economic Relevance

Logos of some Dutch multinational companies

Dutch is the 7th most-spoken language in Europe and about the 30th most-spoken language of the 1000s of languages spoken in the world, but even more important, the Netherlands and Belgium belong to the largest trading partners of both the UK and the US. Belgium is also the seat of many European and transatlantic institutions. Remember, although many Dutch and Belgians speak English, “you buy in your own language but you sell in the foreign language.”

4. Excellent employment prospects

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There are excellent employment prospects with Dutch! As recent labour market intelligence by the University Council of Modern Languages (UCML) points out, UK industry demand by far exceeds the supply of graduates with Dutch! Dutch is in fact the fifth most requested language in UK job adverts, after French, Spanish, German and Italian, but contrary to one would think way ahead of e.g. Chinese and Russian! This is due to the close economic relations of the UK and its neighbours across the Channel.

5. Easy to learn

Dutch Language Taster

It may not be obvious from how Dutch sounds, but apart from Frisian (which is spoken in the Dutch province of Friesland), it is the modern language closest to English and thus the easiest language to learn for native speakers of English! You will have quick success! Interested? Why not try our Online Dutch Language Taster Course?

Read more about: Why Study Dutch at UCL >>>

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Page last modified on 11 dec 11 10:30 by Ulrich Tiedau