There’re over 3.3 million expats working in Spain who take up 20.83% of the job market. As of 2021, more than 2.3 million of these expats come from outside the EU in search of jobs in Spain for English speakers.
Excited to make the move to Spain to start your career? Use this guide to understand the Spanish job market, the types of jobs you can apply for, the practicalities of working in Spain, how to find and apply for jobs, and the paperwork you need to begin your exciting career abroad.
Some of the reasons why moving to Spain for work is a great idea include a cheap cost of living, sunny weather, a community culture, and more.
What's better, as working expats, you can also take advantage of some not so obvious benefits of living in Spain, such as free healthcare, 1 month paid holiday, and the Beckham Law which will save you money on taxes.
In addition, considering that the average salary in Spain is €2,710 gross per month, you’ll be able to live a comfortable life as the approximate monthly expenditure is €1,000 per month.
Verdict: It might be hard to find jobs in Spain for expats, but it’s not impossible. Once you do find a job, you’ll have plenty of good things waiting for you!
Getting a job in Spain is not that hard if you know the right places to look at. Expats or foreigners are specifically suited for jobs that are hard to fill or jobs that are more popular with foreigners than locals.
SEPE (Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal) is the state’s public employment service. In their latest definitive catalogue of occupations that are difficult to cover, they’ve highlighted:
Similarly, the EAE business school has collaborated with AEDRH, the Spanish Association of Human Resources Directors, to produce the EPyCE Report. According to their findings, the top 3 categories that have a high demand and are hard to fill include Sales, Engineering, and Technology.
So if you want to find a job in Spain, you should consider getting a job in the merchant navy sector or as a professional athlete, business developer, account manager, doctor, engineer, IT specialist, data scientist, etc. It might be easier to get a job in these positions considering the shortage of workers. It’s also lucrative because the average salary for these career paths tend to be higher than the average salary of €2,710. As a bonus, these types of jobs don’t always require Spanish and can benefit from your knowledge of different languages.
As an alternative to the hard to fill occupations, you can also look for occupations that employ a lot of foreigners.
According to SEPE’s annual labour market report on foreigners, the top sectors where most foreigners are hired are the services sector (46.76%), agricultural sector (38.03%), industrial sector (8.08%), and construction sector (7.13%).
Among them, here’re the occupational groups and occupations that employ more foreigners than at the state level (20.83%):
|Occupational Group||Top Occupations||% Distribution of Hired Foreigners|
|Directors or Managers||Company directors, bar or cafe managers||0.14%|
|Technicians, Scientists, and Intellectual professionals||Translators, interpreters, language teachers, family/specialist doctors||3.29%|
|Technicians and Support Professionals||IT support, lay helpers in religion||1.97%|
|Accounting, Administrative, Office Employees||Travel agency, loan clerks and pawnbrokers||3.10%|
|Restoration Services, Personal Care, Vendors||Cooks and waiters, specialists in aesthetics, owners of small accommodations||14.62%|
|Qualified Workers: Agricultural, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries||Greenhouse worker, agriculturist, fishermen||2.39%|
|Manufacturing and Construction workers||Bricklayers, slaughterhouse workers, plasterers, fruit and veg canning workers||7.83%|
|Facilities and Machinery Operators and Assemblers||Truck drivers, machine operators (packaging, bottling, sewing, dry cleaning)||4.42%|
|Elementary Occupations||Agricultural labourers, domestic employees||62.25%|
As you can see, foreign workers are mostly hired for occupations that require vocational skills instead of education. The top 3 occupations that employ more foreigners include agricultural labourers, employees who work in catering, personal care, hospitality services, followed by qualified manufacturing and construction workers.
Ultimately, this means that you can find a job in Spain by playing to your educational or vocational skills.
There’re a range of top companies in Spain that hire foreigners across different industries.
Pick from companies with the most revenue, such as Mapfre, Repsol, Telefonica, Acciona, Glovo, etc. Or choose companies that are certified as some of the best employers in Spain, such as Naturgy, Sandoz, Indra, Applus, Enagas, and more.
It's possible to find a job in Spain where English is the requirement. For instance, events manager, party promoter, English teacher, etc. are types of jobs that you can find all over the country.
If you’ve got a more specialised role, such as software developer, then your chances of finding expat jobs in Spain are better within or near the big cities. The further away you go from the main cities, the harder it'll be for you to find jobs for English speakers.
Ultimately, knowing some level of Spanish is highly recommended if you want to live and work in Spain for more than a year. This will help you integrate into society, increase the chances of your CV being selected, and leave a good impression on the hiring manager or colleagues.
The ease of finding jobs in Spain and the requirements to work in Spain depend on your citizenship status.
EU, EEA, or Switzerland citizens can easily move to Spain before securing a job and look for work locally. This's a huge advantage as Spanish people put a lot of emphasis on trusting and getting to know you before giving you a job. Not surprisingly, finding jobs through networking or walking door-to-door is still a preferred way of securing a job in Spain.
The requirement for non-EU citizens wanting to work in Spain is stricter. Non-EU citizens need to have a signed work contract before moving to the country. After that, the company in Spain needs to apply for a work permit by proving that your role is on the shortage occupation list or is hard to fill in locally. Only after the company has applied for your permit, can you apply for a work visa that lets you live and work in Spain.
Don’t forget that remote work is becoming increasingly popular. You always have the option to work remotely for another company while living in a different Spanish city.
When applying for a job in Spain, make sure that your CV isn't only tailored to each job posting but also the Spanish job market. Apart from writing your CV in Spanish to maximise your chance of being called for an interview, here’re some other things you should include:
Once you’re through to the next round, show up to your interview a few minutes early and impress your interviewer by connecting with them and briefly speaking in Spanish if possible.
Landed in Spain and excited to start your dream job?! We bet! There’re a couple of things you need to arrange in this order:
Now, are you ready to find your dream job in Spain?
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