Working in Madrid

Finding work in Madrid
Updated 2023-07-23 12:24

Madrid, the exciting capital of Spain, is a fantastic destination for foreigners looking for job opportunities. With its booming economy, rich culture and excellent work-life balance, Madrid offers numerous advantages, making it an ideal place to kickstart a successful career abroad.

The employment market in Madrid is particularly attractive for those seeking vacancies in industries such as finance, technology, tourism and education. The city's constant growth and development offer new prospects and career advancement possibilities.


Before you set out on your search, read about Madrid's labor market and the necessary procedures to work in Spain. Like elsewhere in the country, expatriates are likely to be hired provided they have exceptional skills that can benefit the local economy and are unavailable locally.

Where to job search in Madrid

If you are looking for employment in the Spanish capital, your starting place will likely be online. Job offers in Madrid are available on various job search portals and in classified ads in local newspapers, which may appear online. While many of the listings are in Spanish, some websites have specialized sections advertising jobs for expats and English speakers. For instance, The Local is an English-language newspaper with job ads in English. Once you are in the city, you can check out the ad sections of physical newspapers.

Personal relationships are important in Spain, so applying in person can help set you apart from other applicants. Send spontaneous applications to companies operating in the region or leave your CV at any business advertising a job opening. If you do send someone your CV, follow up with a phone call a few days later.

Social networks are another way potential employers advertise job openings in Spain. Consider creating and updating your profile on professional social networks like LinkedIn, which can be an excellent way to ultimately find employment in Madrid

Networking is a vital part of any job search, especially as some positions aren't advertised and instead are placed through connections. If possible, leverage any business contacts you may already have before arriving in Madrid. Join professional interest groups, as it's common for job offers to be passed through their mailing lists. Additionally, seek out industry meetups or events to make contacts with others in your field.

Recruitment agencies are also an option for your Madrid job search. Local agencies focus on specific industries or job levels like executives. Those with specialized skills in sought-after fields like IT or English teaching can begin networking with recruiters even before arriving in Madrid. Here is a short list of a few recruitment agencies you may want to try:

Talent Search People


Job Rapido


Types of jobs in Madrid for expats

If you are a fluent Spanish speaker, you will discover many more doors are open to you. People who don't speak the language have limited job opportunities in Madrid. Even if you find English-speaking jobs, you may need some command of Spanish to talk with your colleagues and customers.

Most jobs are in the services sector, accounting for more than 80% of employment in Madrid. This includes logistics, wholesale and retail, finance, healthcare, food and beverages, accounting, marketing, legal services, IT and administration support.

However, if you are an English speaker with only a fundamental knowledge of Spanish, here are some of the types of jobs you can expect to find in Madrid.

Bar jobs

Madrid is known for having one of the best nightlife scenes in Europe, and there are plenty of bars and clubs all around the city, especially in tourist areas. Fluent Spanish is not always a requirement, although you should at least know the names of drinks in Spanish. Numerous bars cater to expat customers.

IT jobs

As in many other places in the world, these are highly sought-after positions. Much of the work involves diagnosing and repairing problems with backend computer functions, so a strong command of the Spanish language may not be necessary.

Teaching jobs

There are several language schools in Madrid, and they're always keen to hear from native English speakers, especially if they have teaching qualifications.

Sales and marketing jobs

Madrid hosts many multinationals with clients, customers and partners in multiple countries. Some companies also have special call centers to target Spain's expat population. You may be able to find work here.

If you prefer to be your own boss, such as a freelance writer or freelance graphic designer, you can set yourself up as an autonomo and get a Spanish self-employment visa.

Tips for finding a job in Madrid

Here are a few tips to help you find the job of your dreams in Madrid:

Brush up on the language

Spain is a Spanish-speaking country, so conversing at a basic level will open doors when networking or calling potential employers. Even if you're applying for an English-speaking job, knowledge of Spanish can help set you apart from the competition.

Consider your 'X' factor

Think about your competitive advantage as a foreigner and an expat. What is it about you that sets you apart from the rest of the pack? When you know the answer, target the most relevant companies.

Update your CV

The chances are there are differences between the CV style in Madrid and your previous country. For instance, CVs in Madrid usually include a photo of the applicant. Revising your CV is also an excellent opportunity to point out the strengths you bring to a job as a foreigner with a unique skillset or experience in your field. Your cover letter should also be in Spanish.

Prepare for interviews

Just like CVs, interview protocols vary from culture to culture. Madrid and Spain skew on the formal side, so it's always a good idea to overdress rather than be too casual. Also, don't be afraid to be yourself. A candidate's personality and motivation matter during the hiring process. Wait to mention money until after you've received a job offer. Lastly, read about Madrid's business culture to avoid any other awkward faux pas.

Working in Spain after Brexit

If you are from the UK and a legal resident in Spain on or before 31st December 2020, you have an automatic right to live and work in the country, just like any other EU citizen. After this cut-off date, UK citizens are classed as third-country nationals and no longer have this right. However, the door to a new life in Madrid is still open. To land a permanent position with a Spanish company, you must win a role on Spain's shortage occupation list, a regularly updated inventory of professionals in short supply in Spain.

If a prospective employer wants you to work for them, they have to demonstrate that a Spanish or EU citizen couldn't fill the position.

Requirements to work in Madrid

Before you can start work in Madrid, you must have your NIE, foreigner's identification number. You can apply for it at some police stations and the Spanish embassy or consulate in your home country. Once you have this number, you can request your Spanish social security number and register with the tax office, Agencia Tributaria.

You can work freely in Spain without needing a work permit if you are from the EU, European Economic Area (EEA – EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) or Switzerland. Everyone from outside these countries will have to apply for a work visa.

The Madrid labor market

Madrid is one of Spain's most important financial and economic centers as well as being a leading tourist hub. While the COVID-19 pandemic affected the local economy and job market, Madrid weathered the storm better than many other places in the country. 

Job opportunities in Madrid abound in sectors like e-commerce, technology, healthcare, and renewable energy, which have shown resilience and even growth during these times. Remote work and digital skills are becoming increasingly sought after, with companies adapting to new ways of operating. 

Interview tips for Madrid

Since the spread of the coronavirus, employers in Madrid have been resorting to video conferencing software like Zoom to conduct interviews. Despite the improved situation with the virus, virtual interviews are becoming more commonplace. Therefore, you may be interviewed online and on camera during your job hunt. Since the experience differs from an in-person interview, it's worthwhile reviewing the basics to help you prepare.

Even though you will probably be interviewed at home, you should still dress formally, as you would for any other interview.

Choose a professional-looking background, not one where the interviewer can see clothes hanging on the line or in a messy room. Also, make sure the space is well-lit, clean and quiet. You might want to consider a virtual background to conceal the room you're in. If so, make sure it looks professional and test it out beforehand.

If you share your home with anyone, advise them of the interview time and ask them to keep noise levels down and not to interrupt you.

Look directly into the camera while speaking, which is the equivalent of maintaining eye contact.

Charge your laptop or plug it in to ensure it doesn't cut out during the interview. Likewise, ensure your computer is updated so it doesn't restart mid-interview to install the latest software.

Turn off or silence your mobile so it doesn't ping or ring while you're being questioned or giving your answers.

Find a good internet connection and test it before the interview.

If you need to share your screen, make sure it is clear and close all websites. This ensures that background video or audio doesn't suddenly start up.

Use appropriate body language during the interview, so sit up straight and place your hands on your lap. Use nonverbal cues such as nodding to show you're listening.

If you've never used the interviewer's choice of videoconference platform, familiarise yourself with its features and how it operates. You don't want to be fumbling during the interview.

Listen before you answer, and speak slowly and clearly to ensure you are understood. Be positive, engaging and exude confidence.

Remember that you are always on camera during the interview; every facial expression will be seen.

Before the call ends, there will be an opportunity to ask questions. Ensure you have prepared at least two or three in advance about the company, the role you're applying for, and the experience of being an employee at the organization.

Business etiquette when working in Madrid

Spanish people generally share a different concept of punctuality than other countries. Therefore, do not expect anyone to turn up to a scheduled meeting on time. Allow for up to 15 minutes. However, you will always be expected to be punctual.

Meeting agendas are often set but not always followed.

Spanish people are conscious of personal presentation, and carefully selected conservative clothing is a must for business people working in the Spanish capital. Dress in a manner that exudes professionalism. Avoid clothes that are flashy, gaudy or revealing.

Choose a relatively expensive restaurant when organizing a lunch or dinner meeting with colleagues/business partners/contacts.

Shaking hands is the usual greeting when meeting someone and saying goodbye. However, an elbow bump may be more appropriate depending on what is happening with the COVID-19 situation.

Have your business cards printed in English and Spanish - one side in English, the other in Spanish. When presenting them to prospective employers, bosses and colleagues, ensure the Spanish side is facing up.

Typical business hours in Madrid are Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30/2:00 p.m. and 4:30/5:00 p.m. until about 8:00 p.m.

Note that the siesta is less typical in Madrid than in smaller towns and cities.

Expect to start business meetings with some small talk because, typically, Spanish people want to become acquainted with you before talking about business matters.

Personal contacts are crucial for business success in Madrid, so it's important that you meet people face to face. Meals, going for a coffee or tapas are ideal occasions to build a rapport.

Useful links:


Jobs in Madrid


Info empleo


Xpat Jobs

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.