English, a joint official language with Maltese, is universally spoken and written and is the language of education and business. Many Maltese are also fluent in Italian, and also speak German and French. Major world languages are easily sourced. The high education and training level of the Maltese labour force is a key competitive factor. The Maltese have a very high regard for education and some 60 per cent of students remain in education to tertiary level. The Malta University is the oldest in the Commonwealth outside Britain, and enjoys an excellent reputation worldwide. Malta’s comparatively low ancillary labour costs, an excellent work ethic and a highly-motivated workforce make it a very cost-effective location. Salaries are an average of one-third to half those found in the EU of 12 countries. There is a large pool of professionals, and law, management, communications and medicine are the dominant courses read at university.