Moving to Spain and wanting to find a job there? First of all, let me just burst your bubble by telling you that not everyone can dance flamenco in Spain. Not even 50% of the population can dance flamenco, so no, don’t expect some improvised flamenco panoramas in the middle of the streets or some random guitar players on the corner of every building on your way from home to work. Those things literally only happen on “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”. However, what you can surely count on is on your many paid breaks in Spain. Yes, you are reading right. Spain does pay for your breaks at the workplace; this means that your lunch hour (sometimes even 2 hours) and your mid-morning toast are both paid. Incredible right? I know… Spaniards do it better.
So now that these points have been cleared out, we can continue with the more important stuff. What if I told you that Spain is much more than just fiesta and siesta? Did you know that Spanish people are known for being very hard workers (in most cases, ahem!)? So, if your plan is to move to sunny land without a job on sight, don’t panic, there is light on the other end of the tunnel. As well as all the other countries in Europe, the job market in Spain renews and changes every day offering people different opportunities, as the market evolves. So stay with us a little longer, you are about to get some of the best tips on how to get a job in Spain!
The current job market in Spain
As most of you might already know, Spain was hit by the latest economic crisis, however, in the last few years everything seems to be getting back on track, meaning that new job opportunities are being created and new businesses are opening in the country. Naturally, just like in any other country, in Spain, you can decide whether to work with a classic contractor or as a freelancer. Both options are possible and both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Spain is very well known for its tourism, its little corners, beaches and amazing food, but it is also well known for its huge community of English speaking people; therefore, your English skills in the peninsula are pure gold. Never, EVER, underestimate the value of this language when in Spain.
Different ways of working in Spain
There are two popular ways of working. One of them would be as a classic salaried employee or hired by a company. If you are coming from central or northern Europe, the first thing you will notice is that your brutto amount will be much lower than what you are used to, since the withholding taxes are much less than in other countries. When it comes to negotiating your salary, you should be able to speak about the yearly brutto amount, rather than the netto amount.
Something you must always have in mind when looking for a job in Spain is the following information. One of the first things you should ask when you are offered a work contract in Spain is how many hours you are going to be working. Some companies will offer you a “full-time” job for only 36 working hours. But be careful this is not an advantage; because it means that you will not be contributing as a full-time employee and therefore, in case you happen to lose your job, you will have contributed as a part-time worker meaning that you will not have the right to apply for your full unemployment benefits. So, always make sure you know all the details before agreeing.
Salaries in Spain, as well as in other European countries were badly affected in the last 10 years, especially in the public sector, but luckily this situation is slowly changing. The minimum salary (SMI or Salario Minimo Interprofesional) is currently on 900,00 € per month or 30,00€ per day (2018) according to the Ministerio de Empleo y Seguridad Social (Employment and Social Security Ministry). Hopefully, these values and figures will also keep growing as much as the country economy is.
The other way of finding yourself a job would be by becoming your own boss. The option of starting your own business or becoming “autónomo” (self-employed) has increased in the last few years significantly. There are more and more people who are opting for it. If you are planning on becoming an autónomo, for the first time, there are certain details that you might want to hear about. For example, the usual fee as a self-employed person in Spain is 283,3€ per month (2019), which is a lot coming from other countries. However, if you are becoming autónomo for the first time, your fee will only be 50€ per month for the first 6 months and further discounts apply on the next 2 years as a self-employed.
Seasonal jobs in Spain
These types of contracts are very, very common in Spain, especially in touristic areas like the Costa Blanca, Costa Brava or Costa del Sol. If you are a free soul, or someone who is not looking to settle any time soon, these jobs in the coasts of Spain allow you to work for 6 months and then move to another city to work on something else or even travel. It is very common to meet people who only work on summer jobs in Spain during the high season (April until October) and then move abroad to work for the winter. Even though this might not be the best idea for those of you looking for stability or moving to Spain with a family, it would definitely work if you were looking for a bit of adventure before finding your ideal apartment in a specific city.
Seasonal jobs can be harder than “classic” white-collar jobs since it will mean a lot of working hours, sometimes even without a day off (from mid-July until mid-August). The good news is, that it definitely pays off. So if you are planning on travelling during the winter, finding a temporal job in Costa del Sol or Costa Blanca is always a good idea. The most beloved cities on the coast to find a job during the summer are usually beach cities located on the East coast such as; Malaga, Marbella, Alicante, Valencia, Javea, Denia, Salou and Barcelona within some others.
Most of these jobs can be done by English speaking people, especially in the cities listed above, however, some hotels and restaurants (depending on their location and type of customers), could ask you for some basic Spanish skills.
English Speaking Jobs
English speaking jobs in Spain are very common and there are a few different opportunities for those who want to live in the land of sun and fiesta. Thankfully, there are huge communities of English speaking people who come to Spain looking for a better lifestyle and warmer winters, so there are many options you can consider if you happen to master the English language.
The very first thing you should consider as an expat in Spain is giving some language classes. Spanish people are every time more into learning new skills since they know that this might open new doors for them or their businesses. Have in mind that practically every job demands English skills if you are working in a touristic area, so English teachers will always be demanded.
Don’t forget the good old way to promote your services. Small communities in smaller cities still use ads in newspapers or simply offer their services in local shops, supermarkets or other spots in their hometown, so you know… in Rome do as the Romans do. However, another idea would be to go to your corresponding ayuntamiento (Spanish for town-hall) and let them know that you are new in town and that you would be happy to offer some courses.
Offering other types of activities in English are also welcome, such as painting, IT or any other type of idea that could attract either the English speaking community or people wanting to learn the language. As long as you are bringing something positive to your local community, the town hall will always be ready to help you out. The sky is the limit, go crazy, and be creative!
Another thing to have in mind is that Spain, unlike other countries, is full of international or English speaking schools. So if you happen to be a teacher, you might want to start there. Bear in mind that in the case you were moving to Cataluña, in most of the cases (even though exceptions may exist), you will be asked to have some knowledge of Catalan. If you don’t have these skills, don’t let it bring you down. Make sure you plan this ahead and book yourself some private classes of Catalan, it will not take you long to learn the basics of the language and it will come in handy in your everyday life.
If you would like to have more chances of securing yourself a job, you should try getting yourself a TEFL certificate (Teaching English as a Second Language). There are many different courses and schools where you can apply to one of their International TEFL Certificate Programs depending on where in Spain you will be living. Ask around when you arrive, so you can find the best school to attend. As mentioned above, this certificate will allow you to teach English not only in Spain but anywhere in the world, so it is totally worth having under your arm.
If you were only looking for a summer job in Spain or simply short summer internship experience, consider applying or looking for an English summer camp. These summer camps are very popular in Spain; they allow parents to keep on going with their normal working schedule while the kids enjoy the summer. The main goal of these camps is teaching the kids English outside class. If this option sounds interesting, look for “Campamentos de Verano en Ingles” or simply “English summer Camps” in Spain. The options are endless and here comes the good news… most of them are located on the beach or nearby – Jackpot!
How to find a job in Spain
Looking for vacancies might be as hard (or easy) as any other place in the world. Word of mouth is always a good way to find yourself a good job, however, there are other ways and platforms that will help you find the way to your (hopefully) new dream job in the land of paella and sangria.
If you are going to move to a city, the following steps will come in handy, however, if you are lucky enough to be moving to one of those beautiful and traditional villages or small towns in central Spain, the word of mouth system still works. There will always be someone at the bar, who knows someone who needs someone. Don’t be shy; Spanish people are always happy to chat. Best-system-ever.
As old-school as it may sound, the radio and some TV channels still work to find jobs in Spain. For example “Aquí hay trabajo” is a TV program that airs every morning from Monday to Friday on RTVE. They will go through a list of different jobs every day. However, you can also find their list of jobs on their website.
Of course, you can also count on the newspaper; however, the newspapers will always post the most “common” jobs. So if you are in the creative area, for example, the newspaper shouldn’t be your go-to option. Even though newspapers publish job offers every day, the majority of them are posted on Sunday papers. The main newspapers to find these are El Pais, El Mundo and ABC. All of them have naturally, its online edition up-to-date too.
The most well-known ETT in Spain (Empresas de Trabajo Temporal or temporal work recruitment agencies) is Adecco. Adecco will offer you the job and contact you directly. They will be in charge of talking to the contractor you are being connected with. This is definitely a great solution when in need of a job. They are basically head-hunters for all types of jobs.
If you would like to start looking for a job from overseas, you might want to start looking online. Here’s a short list of the best websites to find work in (mostly) Spanish:
Other helpful websites for non-Spanish speakers are the following:
Work permits and Requirements
If you are coming from another European country, your whole paperwork will surely be easier and faster, since as an EU citizen (European Economic Area EEA – EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Norway), you are entitled to live and work in Spain freely. If you are coming from a non-European country, you will have to arrange a long stay permit or residence visa, as well as a valid Spanish work permit if your plan is to work with a Spanish employer for a period of more than 3 months.
Make sure you have all these details in mind or at least an idea of all the procedures you must follow before you jump on your plane, the consulate will also give you all the necessary information.
If you are coming to the country already knowing that you are going to be an employee, the employer will apply for the necessary work permit for you through the Dirección Provincial de Trabajo, Seguridad Social y Asuntos Sociales. Once you have been granted with a working permit, you can start applying for your Spanish visa. In the case of being self-employed or autónomo, you will have to apply to all these yourself through your consulate or embassy.