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Finding Work in Spain: Opportunities Await

Finding work in Spain may be something you’re interested in if you want to live in a country that has a high quality of life, provides a good work-life balance, and has a cheaper cost of living.

Workdays run from Monday to Friday and are 40 hours per week, in line with Spanish labor law. 

Each work day usually begins at 9:00 am and ends at 8:00 pm. Don’t fret because those 11 hours per day aren’t all for working. Lunch breaks in Spain can last for 3 hours, often between 1:30 pm and 4:30 pm or 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm. So, you can have ample time to enjoy Spanish cuisine and converse with your colleagues. You can also take a siesta during your lunch break. 

Finding Work in Spain

Non-EU workers who are finding work in Spain may have a better chance of a successful application if they choose a job listed on the shortage occupation list. The Public Employment Service publishes this list every quarter. The immigration office also has to verify if the position cannot be filled by either a Spanish citizen or resident.  

As of last year, here are the 15 occupations in Spain that are experiencing shortages: 

  1. Business consultant
  2. Doctor (different specialization)
  3. Engineer (different specialization)
  4. Marketer
  5. Operating staff
  6. Translator
  7. Pilot of an air (commercial) vessel
  8. Teacher 
  9. Programmer (different directions)
  10. Handyman 
  11. Specialist in tourism 
  12. Sports coach
  13. Builder (different specialization)
  14. Farmer 
  15. Chef 

If those do not interest you, these are the in-demand jobs in Spain that you can consider: accountant, architect, marketing manager, nurse, product manager, software engineer, teacher, UX designer, and web developer. 

Those who can fluently converse in different languages also have an advantage. 

When finding work in Spain, you can try beginning your search on Infoempleo, Infojobs, Trabajos, and Monster. These are employment portals that you can use to find out what job vacancies there are in Spain. 

But, don’t be limited to just that. You can also try looking for multinational companies that operate both in your home country and in Spain. This can be a good starting point where you can build your network, gain experience, and eventually move to Spain. 

Networking is also becoming more important when finding work in Spain. Attend events related to the sectors that you are interested in, because possible employers may cluster around these activities. 

Don’t get intimidated by these events because they usually have a warm and welcoming atmosphere. There is no need to hard-sell yourself; just converse with other attendees and make acquaintances. Also, make sure that you bring a business card with you. This can provide you with the opportunity to keep in touch with those you meet.

You can also avail the services of recruitment agencies when finding work in Spain. Even if it does come with a fee, they can help you throughout the process. This may be more convenient for some. 

Minimum Wage and Average Salary

An important consideration when finding work in Spain is the salary. 

According to Spain’s statistical institute (INE), the average annual salary of employees in Spain is 23,000 euros. This is paid throughout 14 months because an employee receives a monthly salary and, in addition, 2 bonuses for the year. A Christmas bonus is given in December, and a vacation bonus is given in July. 

The average monthly gross salary of employees in Spain is around 1,850 euros, while the monthly net salary is around 1,200 euros. The minimum wage is 7.55 euros per hour, or 965 euros per month. Given this, Spain is the 7th out of 22 countries in Europe that have the highest minimum wage. 

Jobs that are in-demand provide better earning opportunities. The average gross annual salary of employees in such fields ranges from 22,400 to 42,500 euros. Surgeons can even earn as much as 64,500 euros per year. Given this, your non-EU status can work to your advantage. Since positions that are hard to fill are given to non-EU citizens, the high demand for your skills can mean a possibly higher salary. 

Your salary will depend on your profession, qualifications, and the region where you work. Having a higher level of education matters in some industries, so you can use your post-graduate degree to bargain for a higher salary. 

It is also important to calculate whether what you will earn can cover your monthly expenses.  

The average cost of living in Spain per month depends on where you live and the lifestyle that you have. On average, the monthly cost of living in the cities of Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Bilbao is 1,550, 1,600, 1,200, and 1,400 euros, respectively. 

With this, around 2,700 euros are needed for a single person to live comfortably in Spain. This increases to 4,000 euros if living with one’s family.  

Applying for a Job

Once you find an opportunity that you want to pursue, it’s time to create your CV and cover letter. 

It is preferable to follow the Spanish-style CV so that you can present yourself in a concise and professional manner. Unless otherwise stated, all application documents should be in Spanish. It would be best to ask for help from a native Spanish speaker, especially if you aren’t as proficient in the Spanish language. Doing so can ensure that you communicate your background effectively. 

Your CV should include your personal details, photo, work experience, education, languages, skills, other interests, and references. The order of the information should be arranged as listed. 

Prepare a Spanish-style CV when finding work in Spain

A cover letter should be short, direct to the point, and limited to one page at most. Highlight your interest in the job and any qualifications that make you suitable for the position. 

Avoid using a general CV and cover letter for all the companies that you apply for. Tweak them according to the position you are applying for, so that you can highlight all relevant skills and experience specific to the position. This is your first contact with the employer, so make sure that you leave a good impression.

When all the documents are ready, submit them through the means stated by the prospective employer. It is more common nowadays to submit your application through online platforms and email. However, some still require a hard copy of your CV and cover letter. Either way, it would be best to submit your application in accordance with the directions of the employer. 

Requirements to Work in Spain

There are different requirements to be able to work in Spain, which depend on the nationality of the jobseeker. 

For citizens of the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA), they can work in Spain without the need for work and residence visas. As such, they won’t be held back by any requirements and can pursue their career opportunities in Spain as soon as they are able.

On the other hand, expats who are not EU or EEA citizens need to fulfill certain requirements. You will need to apply for a work visa and a residence visa, which has to be done in person at the Spanish embassy in your home country. Spain does not allow individuals to apply for a work visa if they are already in the country. 

When you are accepted for the position that you applied for, your employer must request a work permit for you from the Dirección Provincial de Trabajo, Seguridad Social y Asuntos Sociales. 

While the application submitted by your employer is being processed, you will receive a copy of it from the Spanish government. It includes a stamp from the office that is handling your application. You can attach this as part of your documents when you apply for a visa at the Spanish embassy. 

The requirements for applying for a work visa are listed below: 

  • Filled out and signed application form
  • A copy of your passport
  • Criminal records 
  • A medical certificate issued within the last 3 months
  • 3 passport-sized photographs 
  • Employer’s social security number
  • Job offer with labor conditions
  • Full job description and the company’s activity
  • Proof of the employer’s financial assets 

When you submit your application, the Spanish embassy will inform the regional labor office that it has received your documents. With this, the labor office will process your application. This process can take as long as 8 months. 

Fees for the application of a visa range from 190 USD to 515 USD, depending on the nationality of the applicant and the specific visa applied for. 

The work permit is valid for one year. However, you can renew it afterwards, as long as you fulfill the conditions. 

If you are interested in working in a regulated profession or one that requires authorization to work, you must validate your educational background. 

Your university and non-university degrees obtained outside of Spain should be recognized by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Professional Training. When recognized by the aforementioned institution, it means that your academic and professional qualifications are comparable to those obtained in Spain. This makes the qualifications that you have officially valid in Spain.

With this, one needs creativity and a whole lot of dedication when finding work in Spain. However, this will pay off when you finally get that job offer and work visa. 



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