The job market in Barcelona

businesses in Barcelona
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Updated on 30 July, 2023

Barcelona is the economic, cultural and administrative heart of Catalonia, a creative, cosmopolitan and innovative city known for its quality of life. Like many other cities and towns in Spain, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the local labor market and increased unemployment. However, recovery is on the way. Unemployment has been falling in 2023, and there are opportunities in numerous sectors such as health, science, IT and manufacturing.

Local economy in Barcelona

Barcelona is Spain's second-largest city, home to its largest port and chief commercial and industrial center. Important sectors include shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals, automotive construction, electronics, appliance manufacturing and chemicals.

Tourism is also a hugely important economic pillar. In 2022, 9.7 million tourists stayed in Barcelona´s hotels and homes, making it one of the world's most visited cities. As a result, the local economy is highly dependent on tourism.

With eyes set firmly on the future, Barcelona wants to become the European capital of science and innovation. The Barcelona Science Plan 2020-2023 aims to promote talent and the city's R&D ecosystem, which comprises research centers, universities, scientific facilities and innovative companies.

The labor market in Barcelona

One of the key industries driving the labor market in Barcelona is tourism. There is a high demand for jobs in the hospitality, tourism and service sectors. Hotels, restaurants and bars are just a few examples of businesses that thrive in this tourism-centered economy.

Barcelona is also known for its manufacturing sector, particularly in the automotive and textile industries. The city is home to several automobile manufacturers, and the textile industry has a long history dating back to the industrial revolution. Many international companies have chosen Barcelona as a base for their manufacturing operations, providing employment opportunities for skilled workers.

Moreover, Barcelona has a thriving technology and innovation sector. The Catalan capital houses numerous startups, tech companies and research institutions, attracting a talented pool of professionals in the fields of IT, software development and digital marketing. Barcelona has been striving to establish itself as a hub for technological innovation and has seen an upsurge in demand for skilled tech employees.

A strong emphasis on education and knowledge-based industries also supports the labor market in Barcelona. The city boasts prestigious universities, research centers and educational institutions, producing a highly educated workforce.

Good to know:

Barcelona's unemployment rate as of the first quarter of 2023 was 8%, notably lower than the national average of 13.3%.

Wages in Barcelona

According to the Municipal Data Office, the average annual salary in Barcelona is approximately 32,324 euros.

A person who lives and works in Barcelona needs a salary of at least 1,522 euros a month to make ends meet, states a report published by Area Metropolitana de Barcelona (AMB) in 2023. The same research says that this figure is 300 euros higher than the minimum monthly wage of 1,260 euros.  

Labor laws in Barcelona

According to the law, the working week in Barcelona cannot be more than 40 hours, which can be further reduced based on specific circumstances or collective agreements.

Another significant aspect is the protection of workers' rights, including fair wages. The national government determines the minimum wage in Barcelona, ensuring that employees receive a decent income to meet their basic needs. Additionally, the law guarantees paid annual leave for workers, typically around 30 days per year.

Barcelona's labor laws also emphasize the importance of health and safety in the workplace. Employers must adhere to specific standards, ensuring a safe and healthy working environment. Regular inspections and enforcement of safety regulations by the authorities help prevent accidents and occupational hazards.

Furthermore, these labor laws encourage collective bargaining and the formation of trade unions. Barcelona recognizes the rights of employees to join a union, giving them a platform to voice their concerns and negotiate with employers for better working conditions and benefits.

Good to know:

Barcelona's public holidays for 2024 are as follows:

1 January New Year's Day, 6 January Epiphany / Three Kings' Day, 29 March Good Friday, 1 April Easter Monday, 1 May Labour Day, 20 May Whit Monday / Pentecost Monday, 24 June Sant Joan / Midsummer solstice, 15 August Assumption of Mary, 11 September Catalan National Day, 24 September La Mercè, 12 October National Day of Spain, 1 November All Saints' Day, 6 December Spanish Constitution Day, 25 December Christmas and 26 December Boxing Day.

Useful link:

Barcelona Treball: The job-seeking website of Barcelona

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