Expat guides: How to find a job in Spain

Finding a job in Spain, how do you do that exactly?

One small step

So you’re thinking about upping sticks and getting a job in Spain, getting away from the rat-race, the cold, and arguably…Brexit?

But you’re still going to need a job to get by, so let us fix you up with a handy guide on:

  • What to expect working in Spain.
  • The different career paths available to most.
  • Where to go to find a job in Spain.

Table of Contents

The current state of affairs.

Employment in Spain as you will have heard hit rock bottom in 2013 with 26% unemployment countrywide, and around 50% youth unemployment. However, things are looking up, and it’s not that anything has “bounced back”, there has been a long and gradual return to a better employment rate and more jobs available.

But the crisis took its toll.

There has been a fundamental change* to the job market in Spain, indeed employment on the whole; pay is lower than ever in comparison to living costs, jobs are hard to come by, giving employers more power to pay less. Some numbers:

  • The average net pay is around €16,500 annually.
  • The unemployment rate dropped 2 percentage points to 16.1%* from March ‘17 to March ‘18.
  • The average income tax spends hits a countrywide average of 25%*.
  • The minimum wage is €738/month.

And not only are Spanish workers paid less, they are also working more hours than other large EU economies.

Expats are likely to work in two main sectors

Real estate

Around 300,000 British expats live in Spain making it a Newcastle or a Nottingham in population. Many expats will move to areas with many other expats including Germans and Russians, so there are many jobs available in estate agents, upkeep, and tourism based around real-estate.



Teaching English is a go-to job for people moving to Spain. Jobs are plentiful in English Teaching in academies all over the country. The hours are slightly odd (people learn English after school and after work), and the pay is generally low. The best way to secure better work in the sector is to do the Cambridge CELTA qualification, which is a three-week intensive course.

If you have QTS and NQT status in the UK, take a look at the TES website and set the location to Spain. Teaching in international schools in Spain is certainly a more relaxed working environment, but as above, be prepared to take a pay cut, and do research on schools before committing to anything.

There are other opportunities available, recruitment and customer services are growing sectors employing native English speakers, and of course, skilled workers find employment within Spanish companies, but for this, Spanish at least a B1 level is essential.

Working in Spanish companies takes a little getting used to. The hours are long, and the breaks are very different to the UK. The concept of almuerzo is unfamiliar to most of Europe, but this is a 45-60 minute break at around 11 am to have sandwiches and coffee, and then most workers will stop for lunch at around 2:30 pm, returning to their desks between 3:30 – 4 pm. And then working through normally until 7 but as late as 8. At least in the private sector, a lot of time is spent at the workplace.

Visas and residency for Non-EU expats

For people coming to Spain from outside the EU, a residence visa is needed as well as a Spanish work permit. Once In Spain, you need to get an NIE, which is the identity card you need to register with your local council and also to get a work contract or start paying taxes. If you need any advice, take a look at BlueKey Homes for any legal advice in setting up to live and work in Spain.

Qualifications - Homologación

In some cases, such as teaching in Spanish schools, you will need to “homologar” your qualifications from your home country to match a similar qualification in Spain. If you are fully committed to working in Spanish schools as an English teacher and you are sure your qualifications have a Spanish equivalent, try speaking to someone in the council of your chosen destination,  the bureaucracy of this process should never be underestimated, and on average takes 18 months to 2 years to complete.

Where to find a job in Spain online:

Be warned. For all of the reasons listed above regarding employment in Spain, finding work through these sites is a tedious process as this article* (* Link in Spanish) summarises beautifully.

For English speakers:

Skilled employment:

Globexs offers a wide range of flexible tempory expat rentals in all price ranges.



The Globexs experience

At Globexs we all agree that our job is making people feel welcome. Globexs is, in essence, a people-company: people working for people. Us working for expats. We are the little tap on your shoulder and the voice whispering in your ear that everything will be allright 👌.