1. About SpainSpain
  2. Working conditions
  3. Sectors and companies that are recruiting
  4. Applying for a job
  5. Major recruitment pointers
  6. Recruitment Resources and networks

1. About Spain

Spain’s mixed capitalist economy is the 13th largest in the world, and its per capita income roughly matches that of Germany and France. However, after almost 15 years of above average GDP growth, the Spanish economy began to slow in late 2007 and entered into a recession in the second quarter of 2008. GDP contracted by 3.7% in 2009, ending a 16-year growth trend, and by another 0.2% in 2010, making Spain the last major economy to emerge from the global recession. The reversal in Spain’s economic growth reflected a significant decline in construction amid an oversupply of housing and falling consumer spending, while exports actually have begun to grow. Government efforts to boost the economy through stimulus spending, extended unemployment benefits, and loan guarantees did not prevent a sharp rise in the unemployment rate, which rose from a low of about 8% in 2007 to 20% in 2010. The government budget deficit worsened from 3.8% of GDP in 2008 to 9.2% of GDP in 2010, more than three times the euro-zone limit. Spain’s large budget deficit and poor economic growth prospects have made it vulnerable to financial contagion from other highly-indebted euro zone members despite the government’s efforts to cut spending, privatize industries, and boost competitiveness through labor market reforms. Spanish banks’ high exposure to the collapsed domestic construction and real estate market also poses a continued risk for the sector. The government oversaw a restructuring of the savings bank sector in 2010, and provided some $15 billion in capital to various institutions. Investors remain concerned that Madrid may need to bail out more troubled banks. The Bank of Spain, however, is seeking to boost confidence in the financial sector by pressuring banks to come clean about their losses and consolidate into stronger groups.

Population: 46.8 million

GDP per inhabitant (2010): USD 29.400,-

Unemployment rate (09/10): 20.1%

2. Working conditions

The cost of living in Spain is well below the European average, in particular outside of Madrid and Barcelona. However, salaries are also quite low in comparison to their EU equivalents. Average salaries for workers range from €12,000-€18,000/year. While a salary of €30,000-€35,000 a year is subsistence level in cities like London, it would be well considered in Spain. If you come from Northern Europe or North America, be prepared for serious salary shock. People normally discuss salaries as a monthly figure. This makes things complicated as the majority of companies compensate their employees on a yearly 14-payment system. This system means the normal monthly salary is doubled twice a year (by what are called extras) usually before summer and Christmas. For more on the reality of working in Spain, visit our website on cultural adaptation, .

Traditional working hours in Spain are Monday to Friday from 9:00-9:30 until 13:30-14:00. After a few hours for lunch and a siesta, people return to work from 16:30-17:00 until 19:30-20:00. Today, there is a trend towards shortening the lunch break and finishing earlier. Working hours vary massively between organisations. During the summer months, many organizations adopt an abridged work schedule called horario intensivo whereby employees work non-stop from 8:00-9:00 until 15:00.

When it comes to holidays and vacations time, Spain is a wonderful place to work. By law, any employee under contract is entitled to a full month of vacation each year (usually taken in August) along with numerous national and regional holidays. When those holidays fall on a Tuesday or Thursday, employees are commonly allowed to take Monday or Friday off and make it into a long weekend called a puente.

Read more: Information about Working conditions in Spain from

Legal working hours : 38.0 hours per week.

Length of trial / notice period: From 3 to 6 months.

Employment formalities: EU nationals can enter in Spain as tourists and register with the Spanish National Employment Office (Instituto Nacional de Empleo – INEM) to look for a job. After 90 days, if not found, an extension can be obtained, or otherwise leave Spain and re-enter for a further 90 days. An employment contract will be necessary to apply for a residence permit. Non-EU citizens will need to apply for work and residence permits. Present a job contract or an offer of employment in the form of a pre-contract stamped and signed by both parties. Medical check upon recruitment to be set by the employer.

3. Sectors that are recruiting

not at the moment.

Companies that are recruiting: None at the moment.

4. Applying for a job

Application documents: CV in Spanish and/or English. A brief cover letter highlighting relevant experience and professional aspirations is advisable. E-mail and registering in internet sites are more and more usual.

Advice regarding the CV: No more than 2 sheets for a CV, including contact details, education and further relevant training, and clear indication of languages level. The main part should be about the professional experience, usually in chronological reverse order: company name (sector and dimension/ turnover are advisable), position, main tasks and achievements. Indication of hobbies is seldom required, but not rejected either. References may be asked for at later stages of the process.

5. Major recruitment pointers

Business Etiquette/knowing how to behave during interviews:

Shake hands with everyone present and keep direct eye contact. Treat the recruiter formally (using ‘usted’, instead of ‘tú’) unless asked to do so. Reply to questions precisely, with concise expressions, but giving details that prove your achievements, better displaying modesty than superiority. Show a positive attitude, flexibility, interest, and ask details about the company or the position. Questions about salary should wait until the interviewer brings the topic up.

Languages you must be able to speak: Castellano, English.

Flagship training: Public Universities, mostly multidisciplinary, are highly recommended (Madrid, Barcelona): Politécnica, Complutense, Pompeu Fabra (biomedic), Universitat de Barcelona, Politécnica, Autónoma de Madrid (sciences, economics, law), Autónoma de Barcelona (famous for PhD), Carlos III (engineering, law, economics), etc. Reputed private universities are Deusto, Ramón Llull, Navarra (Journalism, Publicity, Medicine), Pontificia de Comillas, San Pablo CEU, Alfonso X, Antonio Nebrija, etc. Master degrees from business schools: Instituto de Empresa, ESADE, IESE, EOI, ESIC.

Compensation&Benefits / Taxes: 30 calendar days of vacation per year. Compensation: fix salary + bonus / incentives (+strategic bonus for top positions). Benefits: company car, pension fund, medical insurance, mobile. Social Security contributions are partially paid by the employer (6%) and other part by the employee (31%). Tax on income may be up to 43% depending on direct income and must be paid yearly. Preavis: from 3 to 6 months.

6. Recruitment resources and networks

Important business networking sites:

Where to network:
Alumni, professional associations, business schools, internet networks