Working in Spain

Finding work in Spain
Updated 2021-08-13 13:05

The COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on Spain, hitting the economy hard and resulting in hundreds of thousands of job losses. However, with the successful rollout of vaccine programmes and a steadfast determinism to bounce back, Spain is on its way to recovery. And that means job opportunities.

Job hunting in Spain

If you're an expat looking for work in Spain, there are lots of ways you can seek a position. 

The internet will most likely be your first port of call and a constant companion. There is a good selection of online job portals (such as Infojobs, LinkedIn, Monster and Talent Search People) and online newspapers with their classified ads sections. Among the notable national newspapers to check out are El Pais and El Mundo.

Networking is also a great way to find a job in Spain. Tell friends and acquaintances about your situation and attend professional meetups. Many jobs aren't advertised at all and are filled through word of mouth and connections.

Don't underestimate the value of cold calling. Send unsolicited applications to companies and follow up a few days later with a phone call. Visit job agencies in person and discuss the sort of job you're after and your qualifications.

Your job search in Spain can easily take several months, so it's best to start while still in your home country. Most opportunities are to be found in the major cities where the job markets are highly competitive with large numbers of jobseekers.

No matter your situation or what you're looking for, work experience and a good command of Spanish are valuable assets. If your sights are set on living and working in Catalonia, knowledge of Catalan is recommended.

Barcelona and Madrid are among the most popular cities for people searching for new job opportunities, although you should expect salaries to be lower than in many other countries. Barcelona, in particular, is an attractive destination because it is an entrepreneurial hub with hundreds of start-ups. In fact, many European companies have moved their call centres and marketing teams to the city to take advantage of low salaries and its popularity among expats.

Submitting your CV in Spain

As with any job application, you will need to make sure your resume or CV stands out. Be sure to write a Spanish-style CV, which means it should be typed with precise wording and no longer than two sides of A4. Provide details of all your qualifications and any professional courses you've completed, and attach your professionally taken head and shoulders photo. This is not mandatory, but it can be helpful. Your covering letter should be direct and formal and not more than one page in length. Also, consider getting a free CV review at TopCV.

Make sure your CV and cover letter are in perfect Spanish. If you do not have a strong command of the language, it will be worth your while paying a native speaker or CV consultant to do it for you or at the very least, check everything.

In Barcelona and Madrid, some job offers are posted in English, and therefore it is acceptable to send your CV and cover letter in English. However, writing them in Spanish could give you a distinct advantage.

Applying for jobs in Spain

Take advantage of all the avenues open to you to help you find your next job. When you are in Spain, visit your nearest "Oficina de Empleo" (employment agency). Not only for their job listings but also to pick up employment search tips and to get help with paperwork such as how to obtain social security benefits.

Good to know:

If your application is successful, you will be invited for a job interview. In the wake of the pandemic, more interviews are being conducted online over video conferencing platforms such as Zoom. The experience is somewhat different from a face-to-face interview, so be sure to prepare for it accordingly.


Note that there is a tendency among some companies to offer positions based on hiring people as freelancers even though they will work full-time on the companyŽs premises. If this is your experience, you will be responsible for registering as an autonómo (freelancer) and paying your own social security. This is approximately 280 euros per month unless your income is below the minimum wage. You will pay by direct debit.

As an autonómo, you are not eligible for unemployment benefits, even if you have paid into the system for years. However, you can pay a supplementary fee every month to claim it if the time ever comes where you are out of work.

Information for EU and EEA nationals

If you are a foreign national coming from a European Union/European Economic Area country, check out the European Job Mobility Portal. This comprehensive website provides lots of information about the Spanish labour market as well as listing current vacancies.

Information for Non-EU/EEA Nationals

Most foreign nationals from outside the EU and EEA need a permit to work as an employee of a Spanish company. Once you have secured a job, your employer will request one on your behalf. 

Be aware that it can be challenging to find a job in Spain from abroad, given the bureaucracy and formalities. To find out more about relevant employment opportunities, contact the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in your home country.

Useful links:

Oficina empleo - National Agency for Employment

Servicio público - Find a job in Spain

Ministerio de Trabajo, Migraciones y Seguridad Social (Ministry of Labour, Migrations and Social Security)

Eures - The European Mobility Portal





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