Employment in Spain

Finding work in Spain can be very difficult with the unemployment rates being one of the highest in the European Union. Due to this the government has made incentives for foreigners who are not in employment to return to their home country.

Many people find work through

  • Networking
  • Word of mouth
  • Recruitment agencies
  • Job websites
  • Speculative applications

It is highly recommended that expats secure employment before arriving in Spain to avoid the job hunt as many who don’t have a job offer will find that looking for employment can be difficult.

The job search broadens for individuals who have a clear understating of and are able to speak the Spanish language. As well as the Spanish language, those who are able to speak German will have more opportunities for jobs.

Most of the jobs that are available are in certain professions which have vacancies that are difficult to fill for highly skilled professionals. The government of Spain holds a list which shows the shortage of occupations in different regions of Spain, these have a limited hiring process. The shortage occupations are those which are for medium/ highly qualified professionals generally in teaching, mechanical, production engineers, computing, real estate, medical practitioners and many more.

The last few years have shown employment opportunities growing in accounting, business management, marketing, engineering, information technology and in the creative sector.

Qualifications that have been obtained in the UK or in Europe are recognised in Spain and the salary is generally less than in the UK and northern Europe, but the cost of living is also lower. Expats who are unsure about qualifications not being recognised should contact the Ministry of Education and Culture and Sports. As well as this personal references from other countries should be translated into Spanish.

Finding Jobs

There are many different ways in searching for jobs, some of the popular websites to find employment include:

Professional and Specialist employment websites

  • Talent Search People: Sales, Finance, IT, native speakers and e-commerce jobs
  • Xpat Jobs: Multilingual
  • Ambient Recruitment: Multilingual professionals
  • Technoempleo: Telecommunications and IT jobs

Finding work in Newspapers

Most jobs in Spain are advertised in the Sunday newspaper editions as well as daily in the national, provincial and regional newspapers. Job pages can also be looked at in the printed International New York Times and The Overseas Journal.

In addition to this there are many expat publications with some of the being online listing jobs.

Recruitment Agencies

Expats will find that majority of the recruitment agencies only have temporary job posts. You will be required to register with the agency that will then hire workers directly and then assign them to other companies.

Some recruitments agencies:

Radio and TV

Spain has particular job programmes on TV and radio which broadcasts jobs. One of the popular ones on TV is Aquí hay trabajo which is shown daily and also lists jobs on their website.

Facts about working in Spain

  • Business hours: The full time average working week is 40 hours betweem 9am-8pm which includes a two hour lunch break in some areas. This is however slowly changing
  • Business language: The main language in business is Spanish, however multinational companies may do business in English and Spanish
  • Dress Code: Formal, conservative and high quality
  • Greeting: The greeting in Spain is with a kiss on the cheek but many people prefer to shake hands

Applying for a Job

Applying for jobs can be done in different ways; whether it is online, completing a written application or even sending a CV you must ensure that applications have been prepared efficiently. Expats are advised to adapt their CV and cover letter to the Spanish job market.

If sending a CV to a company, you must ensure that the letter is addressed to the right person and then you should follow up with an email.

Self Employment

For those expats who are legally permitted to work and live in Spain have the right to start up their own business. No restrictions are placed on EU citizens wanting to set up their own business in the country as long as the NIE number has been obtained. However, Non-EU nationals will need to have a work permit, a visa and must be able to prove they have sufficient funds to start their own business. Non-EU nationals will also need to confirm that they will employ Spanish nationals.

Many expats who have moved to Spain have had to turn to self employment to work in the country due to the lack of planning, low employment rates and low wages. Businesses that have been opened and successful are those in the improvement & repairs and IT sector.

If you are moving to Spain to open up your own business, you will find that the process is straightforward; generally you will need a financial consultant ‘assessor’ who helps expats to get established, handle income tax returns and IVA.  A financial consultant will charge expats for three monthly IVA returns and a yearly tax return. Therefore, expats should ensure that they are in a good financial position as it may cost several thousand Euros to operate legally.

Those who are self employed will also need to contribute to the health and pension system which increases as the expat gets older, this is a legal requirement.