In the context of recent surveys of business and employer attitudes to the economy’s need for language skills, this study aims to contribute to the debate by investigating the attitudes to foreign language skills in the Scottish Financial Sector. Interviews were conducted with representatives of recruitment agencies and with four managers in investment management companies headquartered in Scotland. The results show, paradoxically, that although language skills are considered essential in this sector, companies tend not to acknowledge this explicitly and do not recruit on this basis. The latent need for skilled linguists is largely met by recruiting foreign nationals who offer both language skills and a global mind-set. It is suggested that these practices will have longer term consequences for the competitiveness of British graduates in the global economy.
Keywords: language skills, financial sector, year abroad, language policies