Work in Spain

Spain had come out of the Eurozone Crisis with a staggering unemployment rate of 26%, whereas that indicator among youngsters (people no older than 28) exceeded 50%. Even though a set of successful reforms lowered the overall rate of unemployment, it still appears to be higher than 18%. However, there are some opportunities for English- and French-speaking people in the Spanish market – though, knowing Spanish is a must in many cases. This section will help you to find work in Spain and offer the best opportunities you can find in this country.

 Spanish labor market at the present time

Considering quite a complicated situation on the labor market of Spain that was even worse a few years ago, it may seem unlike to find a job in Spain. As it was mentioned above, the present-day rate of unemployment is over 18%. However, the data show that the current unemployment rate is slightly higher than the historical average, which is estimated to be 16%.

You may indeed have a gloomy picture about the Spanish labor market in your mind, but there are ways to find work in Spain. You have to be aware of two crucial aspects. First, you are likely to find a good job in large cities like Madrid, Bilbao, or Barcelona. The second aspect is there are certain industries where foreigners are welcome the most (see lower), and in come cases speaking Spanish is not mandatory – though it happens very rarely.

Work in Spain

Unemployment in the country’s south appears to be much higher than in the rest of Spain

The majority of economically developed cities are located in the north and east of the country, as well as the largest number of jobs that require highly qualified, foreign workers can be found there. So that gives you a clue where to look for a job in Spain. Southern regions, especially Andalucia, are mostly dependent on the tourism industry, having the highest unemployment rate in the country, at the same time. The lowest rate of unemployment tends to be in Madrid and such provinces like Catalonia, Basque Country, and Galicia.

Besides, a seemingly high rate of unemployment – especially among young people – is somewhat countered by a large outflow of workforce to Germany, UK, and Scandinavian countries. So if you doubt whether there are any opportunities to find work in Spain, they definitely exist – yet, it is highly recommended to have a workplace secured prior to arriving in Spain.

What economy sectors are most attractive for foreigners

If you are a foreigner without knowledge of the Spanish language, you may find only a few job options, where you will not be required to speak Spanish from the very beginning. Those options include:

  • Teaching, which includes university lectors and teachers of foreign languages (especially such languages as English, French, and German);
  • All types of engineering, including production, industrial, and mechanical engineers;
  • IT industry specialists;
  • Finance industry specialists.

Also, the industries where you can look for a job include real estate, hospitality, health care, tourism, marketing and business analytics. However, working in any of these industries requires you to have a good command of the Spanish language.

jobs in spain

Many foreigners work in Spain as teachers of English

Depending on the lack of workforce and/or skilled professionals in a certain industry, the Spanish government regularly and continuously defines difficult-to-fill workplaces in each region of the country. If your profession is present in such a list, it means that you have significantly higher chances of finding a job in Spain. The list of difficult-to-fill workplaces you can find on this page.

Where to find work in Spain

You should start the jobhunting process before actually arriving in Spain – you will not receive a work permit unless you have secured a workplace (find out more on this page). Even though ways of finding work in Spain are not that much different than in other countries, you should be aware of certain distinctions and also know the sources (like websites, newspapers) for finding a workplace.

employment spain

Newspapers are a worthy way of looking for a job

You can go on to seek a job by using the following ways of jobhunting:

  1. Word of mouth. You must be proactive and look for opportunities among people from your personal network – maybe some of your friends have something to offer for you, or perhaps they have heard of a free workplace that has to be filled as soon as possible? Don’t hesitate, don’t limit yourself to using just one or a few ways of jobhunting, and reach out for all the opportunities, offered to you.
  2. Recruiting agencies. Advantages of this way of jobjunting are clear: you will not be bothered much during the process of searching workplace. On the other hand, however, you will have to pay a fee for the services of recruiting agencies, as well as you may miss better professional opportunities or more suitable work positions. Some of the most popular recruiting agencies in Spain include:
  1. Magazines and newspapers. As in the majority of countries, seeking a job in newspapers and magazines works. If you opt to try this method out, one would suggest you the following newspapers: El País, El Mundo, Expansión, and El Economista. La Vanguardia, another newspaper, has even a website for jobseekers and employers: access the website. Magazines you can take advantage of include Tiempo, Alternativas Economicas, and Actualidad Economica.
  2. Web portals for jobhunting. This way of jobseeking is indeed among the most popular nowadays. There are a number of web portals where you can seek a workplace, including English-speaking portals:

Other popular (though Spanish-speaking) jobhunting websites include:

There are also special, “niche” websites, aimed at seeking workers with particular skills or within a particular industry, such as:

  • Tecnoempleo, where you can find vacancies in telecommunications and IT;
  • Talent Search People, and you can find vacancies in e-commerce, sales, and finance on this website;
  • Ambient Jobs, a web portal for multilingual, skilled workers;
  • XpatJobs, created also for seeking multilingual professionals.
  1. Networks. No-no, apart from LinkedIn, there are many more networks you can take advantage of, including Spanish Camber of Commerce and Aseme.

Useful sources

You can also use these sources for finding a decent work in Spain:

European Commission Traineeships Office


Intern Abroad

Concordia Volunteers

Don Quijote and CV

Europass CV