Working expats who want to move to Spain need a Spanish work visa in order to legally reside and work here. But to get a work visa, you need to have an offer from a company in Spain. But how do you know if the offer is good?
This article will help you negotiate for a better offer or a raise by understanding:
Although Spain has the highest youth unemployment rate and a comparatively low average salary within the EU, it continues to be an attractive place for expats.
Of the many reasons to move to Spain, young expats are attracted to the high quality of life, good work-life balance, and cheaper cost of living. So once expats get a well-paying job in Spain, the benefits of life in Spain outweigh the time it takes to find a relevant job for English speakers.
The biggest and the best cities in Spain are great places to work as they have a big expat network and much more job opportunities for English speakers. So if you’re looking for a job, we recommend looking at the main Spanish cities and then applying at one of the top companies in Spain that offer a working visa to foreigners.
In 2022, the minimum wage in Spain is €7.55 per hour. If you’re a full-time employee working 40 hours a month, that’s €1,125.83 per month paid over 12 months or €965 per month paid over 14 payments (2 extra payments are made in July and December). This adds up to €13,510 per year.
Most companies in Spain make 14 payments in a year- 12 monthly payments plus an additional payment in July and in December.”
With these levels, Spain has the seventh highest minimum wage (salario mínimo interprofessional or SMI) out of 22 European countries.
The last time the minimum wage was raised was in September 2021. Due to the recent inflation, unions are urging for a rise in the minimum wage in 2022. But this hasn’t been finalised yet as banks caution that this could cause prices to rise further.
Unfortunately, this minimum wage does not always apply to interns in Spain. If you’re still a student, you’ll most likely be compensated a maximum of €300 for travel or lunch. But if you’ve graudated and are undertaking an extracurricular internship, you should get at least minimum wage.
In 2022, the average salary in Spain is €2,710 gross per month or €32,520 per year. Since this represents the average, 25% of the population makes less than €1,600 and 75% earns less than €7,080.
When compared to other European countries, Spain’s average net salary sits in the middle.
|Country||Average Net Salary||Comparison with Spain|
Although the average salary in Spain is in the middle when compared to the average salary across the 27 European countries, you’ve to remember that Spain’s cost of living is also considerably lower.
Considering the average cost of living in Spain, a good salary for a comfortable life in Spain is €2,700 for a single person or €4,000 for someone supporting their family.
For your reference, if we account for rent, groceries, health insurance, public transport, and leisure costs, then the average cost of living in Spain is:
Don’t forget that in Barcelona you need more money to live on average than you need in cities such as Màlaga or any suburb. So keep this in mind when negotiating your salary!
Your career choice is the determining factor for your true average salary. So how much should you earn in your career field in Spain?
|Job Title||Average Salary in Spain|
|Financial Analyst||€ 3,508|
|Human Resources Manager||€ 4,150|
|Bank Branch Manager||€ 5,125|
|Business Analyst||€ 3,616|
|Sales Manager||€ 4,591|
|Office Manager||€ 2,558|
|Project Manager||€ 3,241|
|Creative Director||€ 2,791|
|Graphic Designer||€ 2,791|
|Aerospace Engineer||€ 3,675|
|Flight Attendant||€ 1,966|
|Bilingual Teacher||€ 2,250|
|Project Manager||€ 3,441|
|Construction Project Manager||€ 4,608|
|Civil Engineer||€ 2,516|
|Customer Service Representitive||€ 1,210|
|Waiter/ Waitress||€ 1,030|
But remember, this is just the average salary and that the actual salary you might get or deserve, depends on a variety of factors.
Needless to say, the average salary only gives you only a benchmark of what you can expect. In the end, your actual gross salary depends on these 6 factors:
As you can see from the previous table, the salary you earn in Spain (or anywhere else) heavily depends on which career field you choose.
Some of the highest paying jobs in Spain include:
Overall, the sectors that pay the highest salaries include banking, insurance, health, engineering, and IT.
As an expat, it’s also good for you to know that some of the most in-demand jobs in Spain are high paying and difficult to fill locally. So if you want to apply for a job in Spain, consider these professions:
The average salary in Spain varies based on your location. While you will earn an average of €3,130 in the metropolis Barcelona, you can expect an average salary of €2,910 in Málaga.
Your pay rate will increase as you gain work experience. As a guideline, with 2 - 5 years of work experience, you’ll earn an average of 32% more than an entry-level employee. With more than 5 years of experience, you can expect a raise of 36% and with 10+ years of experience, a 21% raise.
In general, non-EU expats tend to earn more than the average annual salary as they need a work visa. Since a work visa is granted to those who’re filling a job on the shortage list, you’re in high demand. In other words, since the government cannot favour local employees to help the country’s unemployment situation, it translates to a higher salary for expats.
Alternatively, highly skilled or educated expats can also apply for the highly skilled worker visa which has a minimum salary requirement of €55,142 a year for managers or directors and €40,077 a year for scientists.
Either way, expats can earn higher average salaries than locals as they’re in demand for fulfilling hard to fill positions.
In some sectors or for some professions, a higher education matters a lot. If you believe a higher education makes you a better candidate, then you can use your level of education as an argument for your salary in a job interview.
Take these figures as a reference for your monthly income:
|Education Level||Higher salary in %|
|Diploma or certificate||+ 17% more than high school diploma|
|Bachelor's Degree||+ 24% more than with certificate only|
|Master's degree||+ 29% more than Bachelor's Degree|
|PhD||+ 23% more than Master's Degree|
Even though it's 2022 Spain is still behind in getting gender pay equality. Unfortunately gender continues to negatively influence salary in Spain and women earn on average 4% less than their male counterparts.
|Gender||Average Gross Salary|
Don't use this factor as an indicator to settle on your gender-determined salary. Instead, use it as an incentive to get to the same level as men as a woman.
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