In order for the UK to boost international trade it must invest much more in languages, according to a new report.
The report by James Foreman-Peck of Cardiff Business School found that not learning languages "promotes complacency and under-investment".
Teresa Tinsley, director of communications at CILT, the National Centre for Languages, said: "We urgently need to raise awareness amongst young people of both the economic and cultural benefits of learning a language."
She went on to say that she wanted to see more employers using management skills and valuing languages as a key business skill.
Ms Tinsley said she wanted to see commitment from all government departments – not just the Department for Children, Schools and Families – to recognise the importance of languages to Britain's future.
CILT recently published its new agenda for languages calling on government agencies and businesses to place more value on languages.
"We need to increase the number of UK graduates competent to work internationally, to enable them to compete with multilingual counterparts from across the world," Ms Tinsley added.
The Cardiff Business School report also found evidence to suggest that Britain's language investment is so low that it imposes a heavier tax on British trade than the average for the rest of the world.