JOB SEARCH / MAY. 01, 2014
version 5, draft 5

How to Find a Job in Spain

Barcelona Spain

Known for its beautiful climate, friendly people, laid-back lifestyle, and world-class healthcare, Spain is a top destination both for professionals looking for career opportunities and for entrepreneurs. So what’s the job market like in Spain, and what do you need to know about working there?

The Job Market

Unemployment is still high in Spain, topping 25% at the end of 2013. It is possible to find work in Spain, but it may be at a lower level than what you would like. Most managerial and professional jobs go to Spaniards, and speaking Spanish is a must. Expats with the best chances of finding work in Spain include those who speak English, do manual labor, have skills that are in high demand, or want to start their own businesses. On the other hand, if you are able to find work, the benefits are huge. Most Spaniards work about 35 hours a week and get a yearly month-long vacation. Lunch breaks are long, giving many employees time to go home and be with their families. And, if you’re paying taxes, you’re entitled to free healthcare.

How to Find a Job

As many as 85% of the positions in Spain are filled through networking. Employers use their personal contacts to find applicants rather than advertising vacancies. However, that doesn’t mean finding a job is impossible; you just have to work at it. The best place to start is by identifying potential employers. The Spanish Business Directory is a good resource. Other options include:

  • Professional organisations
  • Industry associations
  • Newspaper ads
  • Recruiting or temporary agencies
  • Manually emailing or faxing resumes to each individual firm

What You Need to Know

Here are some important things to know about working in Spain:

  • CVs should be short, tailored for each job, and written in Spanish.
  • Members of the European Union don’t need a visa or work permit to work in Spain.
  • Non-EU workers need a work and residency permit. To do that, you have to have a job lined up, and the employer has to prove they couldn’t fill the job with a Spaniard or EU member.
  • If you spend more than 183 days in Spain within a single calendar year or arrive with the intention of living in Spain indefinitely, you’re considered a resident for tax purposes, whether or not you have an official residence permit. You’ll need to obtain a Fiscal Identity Number and will be responsible for income tax as well as for capital gains and inheritance taxes on your worldwide assets.
  • You’ll need to register yourself and any family members at your local town hall. That allows municipalities to create budgets based on the number of people living there.
  • Many businesses close for “siesta” between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Banks are typically open only in the mornings.
  • Water shortages are common, so find out usage rules for where you live.

The relaxed, yet festive, Spanish lifestyle is attractive to many people seeking adventure abroad. You may find it challenging to obtain employment – especially at a professional or managerial level – but it can be done. Just do your homework and don’t get discouraged.

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