Working in the Canary Islands

Finding work in the Canary Islands
Updated 2021-08-13 13:28

The Canary Islands is Spain's southernmost autonomous community, an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, more than 600 miles from the Spanish mainland and approximately 60 miles west of Morocco. The group of seven main islands and several smaller ones is one of the country's most popular tourist destinations, a sunny haven of beaches, water sports, nightlife, golf courses and nature reserves. Employment opportunities in the Canary Islands are varied and particularly attractive to students, trainees and young professionals.

The Canary Islands are volcanic in origin and experience a subtropical climate, which means they enjoy year-round warm temperatures. The islands attract many expatriates, who make up about 13% of the population, according to the Canarian Institute of Statistics (Istac).

Good to know:

The autonomous community of the Canary Islands is divided into two provinces, Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The overall population is around 2,175,000 inhabitants.

The economy of the Canary Islands

The economy of the Canary Islands is principally based on the tertiary or services sector (74.6%), with tourism the most significant contributor. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 14 million people vacationed in the archipelago annually. Industry represents about 8% of the regional GDP, and food processing, clean technologies and oil refining are other important economic pillars.

Labour market of the Canary Island

The unemployment rate as of halfway through 2021 stood at 25.2%, which is higher than the national average of around 15.4%. According to official data, the number of unemployed people was 277,417, with the service sector accounting for most of the unemployed, registering 212,723 in total.

If you're a job seeker, you'll probably stand a better chance of employment success if you have two foreign languages under your belt, including Spanish. English, German and Russian language speakers are in demand in fields such as tourism, hospitality, call centres, education and information and communications technology.

In general, transport, industry and construction jobs tend to go to skilled local workers.


Following the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union, UK citizens no longer have an automatic right to live and work in Spain. The only way UK citizens can secure a full-time job is to land a role featured on Spain's shortage occupation list.

These new rules do not apply to UK citizens who were legal residents in the Canary Islands or Spain before 2021 and remain legal residents.

Good to know:

The average salary in the Canaries is one of the lowest in Spain, and the cost of living is high. However, the islands are popular with digital nomads who are less reliant on the local economy and labour market.

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. Put your networking skills to good use, as many jobs in the Canary Islands can be found through connections. You might also want to check out classified ads in local newspapers and on the internet.

Bar work, hotel jobs or summer jobs for young people are typically the easiest types of employment to pick up. During peak summer months, there's an increased demand for bartenders, barmaids, cleaners, security staff and PR and marketing roles.

Good to know:

The maximum number of hours worked per week is 40 hours. The average working day will typically start between 8:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. and finish at 7:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. In between, there'll be a two-hour or three-hour lunch break/siesta between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. or 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Useful links:

Canary Islands Employment Service
Opcion Empleo
Info Jobs
Mil Anuncios

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.