A GUIDE TO WORKING IN SPAIN

 

An increasing number of younger people are now moving to Spain, following in the footsteps of ex-pat pensioners who started the trend more than 30 years ago.

A combination of low cost flights, a barrage of 'home in the sun' TV programmers and general disillusionment with life in northern European countries is now bringing a new wave of work-age foreigners to the Iberian Peninsula and Spanish islands.

 

Moving to a new town is daunting, let alone moving to a whole new country and if you're the major earner of the household then it's not just moving home that you need to consider. Luckily for those looking to move to Spain there are plenty of employment opportunities throughout the country; it's just a matter of finding the right job in the right location.  Obviously with the current recession this is no longer the case but certain skills will always be in demand such as I.T, Sales and Graphic Designers.

 

First things first, your chances of getting your dream job in Spain will be greatly enhanced if you can speak Spanish. If you're not fluent but know enough to get by in basic conversations then that's still ok and your language skills are likely to improve tenfold once you make the move. It does, however, look very promising to a potential employer if you can have a flowing conversation with them on a range of subjects and without any barriers. Another reason that knowledge of the language is useful is to understand exactly what is outlined and set down in your work contract if everything is to go smoothly in the future. If you are keen to move quickly as you have found a potential job, but don't have the time to learn the language first then make sure you hire a translator to go through your contract so that you know your rights. Secondly, before you move you will need to consider that different areas in Spain have different popular sectors. Take, for instance, the very north of Spain in Avilés, Bilbao and Oviedo. These towns and cities have a large number of jobs in the steel and iron industries, whereas in the mid western cities like Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid the primary areas of employment are textiles, clothing, metal and machinery. The one job sector which is ubiquitous throughout Spain is food production and this is no doubt due to the rich culture and traditional cuisine associated with the country.  You should also be aware of the different dialects in the various regions especially the difference between Castilian and Catalan.

 


What this means is that if you are moving to Spain, to live, and would like to find full time work there then make sure you research which area holds the most promise for your skills, qualifications and talent. An area like Andalucía is going to be unsuitable with someone looking for work or having experience in the steel industry as those jobs are on the opposite side of the country. The industrial sector accounts for just 36% of the population of Spain, with the Service sector accounting for an incredible 54%. This is why a job in Spanish tourism is so lucrative and can set you up for life. Agricultural jobs remain the underdog of Spanish employment, accounting for 10% of the population. It's a sector that isn't as popular now as it used to be.. For a lot of Britons looking to move to Spain, owning or working on a farm is an idyllic dream; but it could become a reality surprisingly easily. Thirdly different sectors have different requirements if you are to work legally. For instance, the public sector requires employees to take the public exams (essentially psychometric testing) which are held once a year, also known as the 'oposiciones'. Results are then taken into consideration and the most desirable candidates are successful. Employee equality and diversity rights are as relevant in Spain as they are anywhere else in the EU so potential public sector employees are never meant to be unfairly treated.

 

So you have identified that there are a number of successful sectors operating in Spain, that having knowledge of the language is useful and that you need to live in an area close to relevant jobs, but what about the average wage, and how does it weigh up to working in the UK? If you convert what you earn from Spanish Euros into pounds then you might be disappointed, but what is important to remember is that the standard of living in Spain is so much higher than in the UK and the cost of living at that quality lower still. Basically, your wage will go further than it would had you earned that amount in the UK so you're no worse off. The minimum wage as of 2004 is 17.00€ per day (£15.74), but since there has been an industry boom in the past few years accepting work at the minimum wage shouldn't be necessary obviously for the next twelve months or so until this recession is over that might not be the case. Lastly we come to contracts in Spain. Most jobs will initially involve you being on what's called a 'short term' contract. These can last for three, six or nine months and are a sort of probationary period. After that contract has ended, no matter how long it was, the employer then has to put you on a permanent contract, rather than repeatedly putting you on short term contracts, so that you have a sense of job security. As with the rest of the EU there are fair and unfair dismissal laws in place for employment in Spain and unfair dismissals are dealt with in the Spanish courts.

 

We hope you have found this article interesting and for more interesting articles why not visit our Living in Spain page.

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