Below you will find our essential guide to finding a job in Spain for expats looking to make the move here. You will learn about how to find a job, employment opportunities available, visa's and work permits, worker rights and the current state of the Spanish job market.
If you are planning to take the leap and move to Spain permanently, there is a good chance that you will need to obtain some form of regular employment.
Many expat forums on the internet are full of posts from people enquiring as to employment situation here in Spain. So it's evident that it's a real concern for many people looking to move here.
To become a full-time resident in Spain, you will need to provide proof of employment here or at least prove that you have a sufficient income to support yourself. Unlike the UK, there is no real welfare system for foreigners who have not paid into the social security system to fall back on. So making sure you have some form of employment or income is a prerequisite to living here.
The Job Market In Spain
Although Spain is one of Europe's largest economies and is slowly crawling its way out of the economic downturn, it also has one of the highest unemployment rates with around 18% of the population currently out of work.
Youth unemployment is of particular concern with around 40% of youngsters looking for work and new graduates finding it difficult to secure permanent well paid positions, many of whom end up seeking opportunities abroad.
Will I Need to Speak Spanish?
Unless you are fluent in Spanish, it's fair to say that you will be restricted as to which opportunities will be available to you. Needless to say, the quicker you learn to speak Spanish the better you will fare when it comes to seeking employment.
For English speakers only, the main industries in which to find employment are tourism, real estate, teaching English, building and construction, sales and industries which provide services to expat communities. You also need to be aware that many jobs along the coast such as bar and restaurant work can be mostly seasonal.
Requirements For Foreigners to Work in Spain
If you are a citizen of the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) including Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, you will NOT need a work permit and at this time and can freely travel to Spain in order to seek employment.
Those from outside of the EU and EEA will need to acquire a Spanish residence visa and work permit before they can undertake any employment. More info on visas can be found here http://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/expat-tips/172-visa-requirements-for-spain.html
All workers will also need to obtain an NIE number and register themselves with the Spanish tax authorities, the Agencia Tributaria in order to pay their income tax (IRPF). For further details on NIE numbers, see our other article http://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/expat-tips/75-how-to-get-your-spanish-nie-number.html
How Much Will I Be Paid?
In 2017, the Ministry of Employment and Social Security (Ministerio de Empleo y Seguridad Social) increased the minimum wage in Spain to €825.65 per month (12 monthly payments).
For part-time workers, the official minimum wage is half of the full-time minimum wage, so is €412.82 per month (12 monthly payments).
The Spanish monthly minimum wage is quite low compared to European neighbours France, the UK, the Netherlands, Ireland and Belgium, but significantly higher than Greece, Poland and Portugal, which has a minimum wage of around €618 per month.
There isn't an official hourly minimum wage rate in Spain. Instead, the government sets the standard working week to 40 hours. This means that the current minimum wage in Spain equates to around €4.75 per hour. This compares to the UK current rate of £7.50 per hour (€8.41) for over 25's, £7.05 per hour (€7.91) for 21-24 year olds and £5.60 per hour (€6.28) for 18-20 year olds.