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Work in the Canary Islands


The Canary Islands, located at 1,000 km from the Iberian Peninsula, are part of the seventeen Spanish autonomous communities. It is one of the country's most popular destinations after Spain's major cities, Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla and Barcelona. The Canary Islands offer various opportunities for young professionals, trainees, as well as to students.

Being a volcanic islands archipelago, the Canary Islands have a quite different environment and lifestyle. It is, above all, a tourist area that attracts large numbers of foreigners each year. It's population comprises of 12% expatriates.

 Good to know:

The Canary Islands are divided into two provinces, Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, with a population amounting to some 2.1 million inhabitants.

Economy of the Canary Islands

Over the years, tourism has become one of the Canary Islands main economic pillars with over 50% contribution to the GDP of the Canary Islands. Almost 15 million tourists visited The Canary Islands in 2016! The tertiary sector follows with export, trade, services, etc.

The Canary Islands' main economic pillars are industry, including oil refineries, food manufacturing, as well as maritime trade activities in the seaports. Agriculture is also present in the two provinces through the cultivation of cereals, tropical fruits such as mangoes, bananas and pineapples, vines, tomatoes and tobacco. As regards livestock, its contribution to the region's economy is less important.

You will also find small and medium enterprises, which contribute significantly to the economy.

Labour market of the Canary Islands

Despite the Canary Islands' economic dynamism, the unemployment rate stood at 25% involving 274,000 unemployed in the last quarter of 2016 according to Expansión Statistics. Most of them were salespersons, drivers or other types of manual workers.

Moreover, monthly wages are rather low there, compared to other Spanish cities. Hence, it can be quite difficult for foreigners to find a job. However, those mastering at least two foreign languages such as English and German, Russian, and even Scandinavian languages besides Spanish, can still be hired in specific fields like tourism and hospitality, call centres, information and communication technology as well as education.

In general, transport, industry, construction, services and agriculture mainly recruit skilled local citizens.

 Good to know:

In relation to the fairly low salaries, the cost of living remains rather high since most goods need to be shipped to the islands, though it is a popular home for digital nomads working independently online.

Finding a job in the Canary Islands

Consider sending spontaneous applications to big firms operating in the area if you have the skills and qualifications required by the local labour market.Use your networking skills as most jobs are found by word-of-mouth. You might want to check out job offers or classified ads in local newspapers and on the internet.

Bar work, hotel jobs or summer jobs for young people may be the easiest type of work to pick up. Especially during the summer months, bartenders, barmaids, cleaning or security staff, PR and promotion are needed.

 Good to know:

Working hours can be quite long because of the traditional Spanish siesta. You may be starting at 10am, taking a lunch break between one and four, and working until seven or eight in the evening.

 Useful links:

Canary Islands Employment Service
Opcion Empleo
Info Jobs
Mil Anuncios

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See also

Sevilla's economy was badly affected by the 2008 economic crisis and many people remain unemployed. However it is possible for expats to find work.
Although Malaga was affected by the 2008 economic crisis, expats can still find a job. However, there is a high level of unemployment.
European Union citizens are free to set up a business in Spain. However, non-European citizens have to obtain a resident card before proceeding.
Spain's unemployment rate remains the highest in Europe, although it has been declining during recent years. Hence, expats are likely to find a job there.
Tenerife Island and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, its capital city, are known to be tourist destinations. But there are also jobs opportunities in many fields.

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