Modern Languages graduate destinations

As the global market expands, employers are particularly attracted to linguists due to language skills being in short supply and the fact that they can be used in almost any job. Graduates from these courses tend to be good communicators and have other relevant skills including the ability to gather and interpret complex information, good organisational skills and the ability to work well with others. These attributes, as well as the year abroad (which provides an insight into another culture and shows a capacity for adapting to new surroundings), are integral to many professions.

Data obtained from

  • Single and joint honours (BA) courses in: Czech, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian
  • Graduates from the UK 

Responses were received from 210 graduates from 2016/17; this is a response rate of 76.9%


Most important activityPercentage of graduates
Full-time work 60%
Part-time work 9%
Due to start work 1%
Full-time study 14%
Part-time study 1%
Travel 7%
Something else 1%
Unemployed 9%

Sector information

Nationally, about 50% of language students go straight into full time employment in the UK and about 10% find work abroad, mostly in commercial and business areas.

Employment sectorNumber of graduates
Advertising and market research 10
Finance and insurance 9
Other sectors (24 sectors) 87

Employers and occupations

Many linguists find their way into jobs that do not require a specific degree, as around 70% are open to graduates of any discipline. These jobs can be wide ranging, and include: banks and other financial institutions, the travel and hospitality business, the media including journalism, advertising, PR, retail, education, charities, international organisations and many others.

Examples of employers

  • British Council
  • EY
  • Focus PR
  • Éléphant groupe
  • Merbis-Kirk Translations

Examples of occupations

  • Auxiliaire de Conversation Anglaise
  • Accountancy Associate
  • Team Assistant
  • Freelance Researcher
  • Translator

Many Modern Languages graduates find employment in jobs where their languages are advantageous but not central to their work. Languages indicate an ‘international’ outlook, capacities and experience useful to most employers in these days of international competition. Few Modern Languages graduates become professional linguists (translators or interpreters). Most of those who do, speak at least two foreign languages and undertake specialist postgraduate training.

Further study

Of the graduates in further study six months after graduation, 3 were completing a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). Of the remainder in postgraduate education, courses undertaken relate to an extension of language study, e.g. French (MPhil), Comparative Literature and Cultures (MA), Carribean and Latin American Studies (MSc), as well as the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). 

Qualification typeNumber of graduates
Postgraduate research degree 2
Postgraduate taught degree 16
Postgraduate certificate 3
First degree 0
Other certificate 0
Professional qualification 6
Other qualification 0
No qualification aim 0

Explore your career options

You can explore specific sectors and career options on the Prospects website: What can I do with my degree?

Information request

If you need more information about our graduate destinations please fill out our information request form.

Connect with alumni

Use Bristol Connects and LinkedIn to find out what others from your course are doing now and how they can help you.

A Bristol degree is very well respected and at an early stage of your career, where you may not yet have much professional experience, it is a great selling point.

Ciara, Financial Services Advisory Consultant, Ernst and Young (BA French and Spanish, 2015)
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