China may have the world's second largest economy, but speaking Mandarin isn't a required business skill yet. English, according to a study by EF Education First, will remain the basic language of business.
English will maintain and grow its dominance, moving from “a marker of the elite” in years past to “a basic skill needed for the entire workforce, in the same way that literacy has been transformed in the last two centuries from an elite privilege into a basic requirement for informed citizenship.” (Indeed, the British Council reports that by 2020, two billion people will be studying English.)
The findings will be reassuring to native English speakers in the United States, of whom only 10% speak a second language. However, speaking another language in addition to English (in the United States, I'd argue for Spanish) is vital to participating -- and having a competitive edge -- in business and finance on a global level.