The biggest hurdle for anyone wanting to move to Spain is finding a job. Here’s our best advice.
Living and working abroad is one of the most rewarding things you can do. It can also be very daunting. Unless you’ve saved up a lot of money, finding a job will be one of the first things you need to do.
The type of job you get will depend a lot on how long you plan to be there. If you’re going for a year you’ll mostly be looking for temporary work but if you’re hoping to move there for the long term then you’ll be wanting a permanent job or a career. Recruitment agencies in Spain will give the best advice based on your personal situation.
Spanish language requirements
There are two main languages in Spain: Castilian (most of Spain, including Madrid) and Catalan (Barcelona and the Catalan region), as well as a couple of smaller ones – Galician and Basque. 99% of the population speak Castilian as a first or second language and it’s what you might have been taught in school as ‘Spanish’. However, if you’re planning to work in or around Barcelona you will get along much better if you learn some Catalan as well.
Either way you can start to learn, or brush up, your Spanish skills with many free apps or other online resources. You could also consider starting out teaching English to Spanish children while you enrol in a college course to learn the language more fully.
Visas and work permits
While still in the EU, UK citizens can live and work in Spain freely. Post-Brexit you will likely need to find a job first and then apply for a residency visa allowing you to live and work in Spain. Your employer will usually apply for the work permit on your behalf though if you’re thinking of being self-employed then you’ll need to apply at a consulate in the UK. You will also need to register with the tax office and get an NIE number from a Police station on arrival.
The Spanish job market
The unemployment rate in Spain is one of the highest in Europe at around 20 percent. The economy, however, is growing rapidly and unemployment is starting to fall. Youth unemployment is very high at around 45 percent. There is a huge shortage of unskilled jobs so you will do much better if you’re looking for skilled work.
As in most countries, some sectors have a much greater availability and the Spanish government maintains a website showing skill shortages by region. Again, recruitment agencies in Spain will be able to point you in the right direction.
The minimum wage is EUR 707.60 per month in 2017 and is reviewed annually. There is no hourly minimum wage but the above is based on the usual Spanish practice of 40 hour weeks and 14 ‘monthly’ payments per year. This works out at around EUR 4.75 per hour which is much lower than the UK minimum wage.
Major Spanish industry
Spain has very large agriculture, fishing, engineering and, of course, tourism industries. Most of the shortages tend to be seen in teaching (especially language teachers and in academia), engineering, IT and software/web development.
If your chosen profession requires regulation and specific qualifications then you will need to check whether those you have are recognised by the Spanish government. You will also need to have any references translated into Spanish. You might also consider getting a Europass which puts qualifications and experience into a standard format.
In Spain, like in most countries, the best casual work opportunities include child-care, English language teaching, seasonal agricultural work and the tourism industry.
Spain also has a huge ex-pat British community so one of the easiest places to find English jobs in Spain can be within this community, especially in the summer season when casual work skyrockets. In some of these jobs you may even be able to get by just speaking English, but any knowledge of Spanish will be an advantage.
The best advice to find English jobs in Spain is to do your homework, check out recruitment agencies in Spain and make sure you’re actually ready to move if you get one! You might apply for a hundred jobs and get none or you might apply for one and get it.
Above all, be flexible and keep the faith!