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Finding Employment

Spain - Finding Employment

Since the 2008 Spanish Economic Crisis it has been an uphill battle for the country to beat the large figures of unemployment that have tarnished the job market for nearly a decade. Spain relies on the construction and tourism industries to provide jobs with workers often having temporary contracts. A turning point has come however in April 2016 as it has been recorded by the Labour Ministry Data that the creation of jobs by contributors has finally outnumbered figures of the registered unemployed. The year has seen more and more jobs added by almost all job sectors notably manufacturing and hospitality. The employment rate as of June 2016 is at the lowest in the past 7 years, falling to 18.9% causing an upturn in market predictions.

Unemployment rates per region differ by more than 10%. Almost all of the north of the country (including Madrid) sees unemployment rates of between 15%-21% whilst the regions which contain the biggest part of the country's industrial work such as the Basque Country, La Rioja and Navarre has rates of 15%. In the south, Andalucia, Castilla La Mancha, Extremadura and the Canary Islands have rates of over 25% whilst the rest of the south and the Balearic Islands are seeing figures of just over 21%. On the East coast Valencia and Murcia see 21%-25% unemployment and the south has been frequently experiencing the worst unemployment with Andalusia, Castile La Mancha and Extremadura of more than 25%.

When searching for a job in Spain people often check the online job sites with regional listings as the first port of call. Jobs range from unpaid internships to highly skilled professional roles and are are recruited for on a range of network of sites some of which are listed below. Additionally, word of mouth is always a useful and reliable way to find out about job opportunities so networking in local expat community meets, having a look at online forums and turning up to socialise at arranged events could help you make friends and perhaps discover job opportunities too. If you speak Spanish or have a friend who does, have a scan over the newspapers for job advertisements. Go in person to register with employment agencies which usually offer temporary or contract roles. Unsolicited job applications are worth trying as it hasn’t been unheard of for people to get jobs by sending over their CV and a cover letter (either electronically or by post) to a company and getting an interview as a result. Follow through with a phone call to check up on the status of your application.

There are many multinationals who might employ English speaking expats such as AXA, Yellow Pages, Michelin, Macro, KPMG and SIEMENS to name a few. When it comes to shortage occupations these vary from highly qualified roles such as teaching in a university, medical practitioners, experts in business and computing, engineers and medium skilled roles in tourism and real estate. 2015 saw a growth in the job sectors of engineering, IT, marketing, agribusiness, renewable energy and the creative sector. For types of employment other than working in tourism, teaching English, real estate and working in multinational companies generally you need to be able to speak Spanish. That means by not speaking the local language you are somewhat limiting your employment chances if the job you want is outside of the usual sectors expats find work.

Job search websites

Multi Use website where job seekers can apply for jobs, advertise their cv to recruiters and search for language schools.

Site for English speakers to find jobs in Spain plus information on working there, tax and residency.

Website for individuals from the EU seeking jobs in the European Economic Area. Job seekers can apply to jobs online and/or list their CV for headhunting.

Website of the Public State Employment Service where jobs per region are listed.

Website where the job seeker can place their CV on display and be headhunted by companies and also search for jobs with the job search engine tool. From first job to specialists.

Online job portal with job vacancies listed per company. Range of multinational job listings.

Recruitment consultancies

Antal International
Employment agency with offices, consultants and online job search plus tool for recruiters to find workers.
Email: LHerran@antal.com
Tel: 34 913 106015
Website: http://www.antal.com/

Hays Specialist Recruitment
International recruitment consultancy with offices all over the world plus 5 branches in Spain.
Contact: Page on website
Website: http://www.hays.es/

Howard Bond Recruitment
Recruitment consultancy based on Western Europe offering in house training for businesses too.
Email: info@howardbondrecruitment.com
Tel: 34 951 120 598
Website: http://www.howardbondrecruitment.com/

Approach People Recruitment
European recruitment consultancy with multilingual job vacancies amongst other roles.
Madrid branch
Email: vanessa@approachpeople.com
Tel: 34 917 693 440
Website: http://www.approachpeople.com/

The Public State Employment Service (SEPE) is an employment service where job vacancies are advertised, training courses are available and advice on job hunting is given. There is also a government run site run through the Ministry of Employment and Social Security where job seekers can search and apply for roles.

Like working illegally within any country in the EU, it may be that if you are caught you will be deported. Penalties and fines can be in place if migrant workers are discovered to be working without a visa or documentation and this applies to both the worker and employer. If you are asked to leave but don’t, you may be banned from traveling again to the EU.

Useful networking groups

Local and regional Spanish Chamber of Commerce meeting groups are found on the organisations website.

Club for Spanish exporters, businesses and investors whose work involves international trade. (Spanish speaking)

Madrid based networking club where members meet to discuss issues, problems and raise the profile of their businesses (Spanish speaking) http://negociosynetworking.net/

Networking site for the Professional Women’s Network in Spain which arranges networking events for women from all industries. http://pwnglobal.net/

Expat (guiri meaning foreigner in Spanish) business network with job search tool on the website and social and business networking events.

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.