Written by Sally Veall,
Last Modified: 16th February 2023

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to work in Spain? Our expat writer in Spain, Sally Veall, uncovers what jobs in are in demand right now. Plus, we detail what visas you will need to look into so that you can work in Spain.

cup of coffee, notepad, laptop

Fancy working in Spain?

Moving to Spain is the dream for many people. There are numerous reasons for this – lifestyle, climate, cost of living and outdoor life. You don’t even have to wait for retirement to revel in this way of life – you can work in Spain.

Some people will be fortunate to be offered work in Spain by their existing employer, while others might seek a career change or plan to start their own business. Employment in Spain for foreigners is not as easy as you might think but certain professions and industries are crying out for labour, so let’s look at what might be available this year.

If you are thinking of coming to Spain to live and work, it is well worth your time to find out in which areas jobs are available before you arrive. In most fields, a Spanish speaker will be required but for English-only speakers, there are some jobs that might well suit. However, it is advisable for you to take Spanish classes anyway to enhance your life and social life when in Spain. It doesn’t matter if you don’t speak perfect Spanish as language, any language, is simply a form of communication between human beings. Learning the basics is a good start and you will be surprised at how quickly your Spanish skills will improve once you start talking to work colleagues and local people.

LinkedIn’s report on ‘Jobs on the Rise in 2023’

Worldwide the outlook for jobs isn’t that great owing to a number of factors including the war in Ukraine, sanctions against Russia, Iran and other countries and a general feeling of malaise in the employment world. However, LinkedIn has published a report on ‘Jobs on the Rise in 2023’, identifying jobs that are in-demand right now in Spain.

Don’t get discouraged as many non EU citizens currently work in Spain and often get help to negotiate the visa applications from their employer.


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Which areas of employment in Spain need more workers?

an office. featuring a young woman and an older man talking.

Do you have skills that would be useful in Spain?

This is part of the list that LinkedIn has named:

Growth Managers for supervising the addition of new business and customers, Sales Specialists, needed to increase sales and business generally, formulating sales methods and recruiting new customers.

Business Development Managers  for boosting company growth

Sustainability Consultants, all to do with making a company “greener”, Logistics, expert supervising shipping and storage, Customer Relations, keeping customers happy!

Engineers are also required:

Site reliability engineers, constructing the links between company advancement and IT, Solutions Engineers, assisting clients’ working problems and solving them, Data Engineers, Cloud Systems Engineers,

Site Reliability Engineers, Supply Chain experts, Director of Engineering, Software Engineering Consultants, Social Media Marketing Managers.

Plus, there is a shortage of metal workers in Spain. There are many jobs in the construction industry. Moreover, the growth of IT and AI (artificial intelligence) is fueling demand for specialists in Spain.


What about teaching?

woman teaching young girl

Would you suit teaching in Spain?

To be accepted in the public sector, you would need to study and pass several exams. As a teaching assistant, you will still need TEFL or similar if you don’t have teaching qualifications. It’s slightly different in the private sector and without full skills, there are openings for classroom assistants, but they are not well paid. If you do have a teaching degree, a private school might be very happy to employ you, especially for English. Do remember though, that some of the autonomous regions such as Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia have their own regional languages. In Catalonia, for example, lessons are taught in Catalan, with Spanish as a “foreign language” as is English.

Many foreigners teach privately in their own homes. This is purely non-contractual and you might earn up to €25 an hour. Generally, the Spanish want to learn English and are keen for their children to do so. They are usually sent to expensive language schools after the school day, so there is an opening for a good English language teacher to offer private lessons.

Professional translators are always in demand. It is worth going through the process to become an accredited official translator as you will always be at work and will be paid a higher amount.


Any other employment opportunities?


chalkboard saying "hello" and "hola"

If you have great language skills, perhaps you could be a translator.

Professional translators are always in demand. It is worth going through the process to become an accredited official translator as you will always be at work and will be paid a higher amount. Nevertheless, other ways in which translators can work are to help foreigners through the bureaucratic processes, at a local hospital or CAP (local clinic). It’s not just English speakers who are needed, French, German and Dutch speakers are in demand.

House Maintenance

In areas where many British people and other foreigners live, there is a demand for garden and swimming pool maintenance, house sitters, dog walkers, handymen, builders and cleaners. English is usually a requirement as many people don’t really speak Spanish even after living in Spain for some time. The same applies to the French, Germans and Dutch.

Most people working as casual labour don’t have contracts and therefore have no recourse if they lose their jobs or have an accident at work. It is therefore at your own risk to work like this, which, by the way, is basically illegal, though many people do it. On the other hand, if you start your own company, after going through heavy Spanish bureaucracy, you will be insured against liabilities, will receive unemployment benefits if everything goes wrong and will be covered by social security, as will those who work for you.

Spain’s unemployment rose slightly in January and currently stands at 12.87%, the lowest for years but nevertheless higher than in most European countries. Jobs are therefore keenly sought after and a working knowledge of Spanish could make all the difference. It’s never too soon to start learning.


You will need a visa to work in Spain

keyboard with Spanish flag and "apply for visa"

Remember to research the visa you need.

If you are considering working in Spain, things are not as simple as they once were. Since the UK left the EU, visas are now required to work in Spain as in the rest of the European Union.

To work as a TEFL teacher or in other fields, you will need a job offer and to supply lots of paperwork. There will also be a fee to be paid. If you are applying for a student visa, you will be allowed to work as a teacher provided you do not work for more than 20 hours a week.

In most cases you will have to apply for a work visa. Highly skilled workers can opt for the European Blue Card Visa and for those wishing to start their own business, there is the Entrepreneur Visa.

For most people though, they will need a work visa and will need to begin the journey in their home country. As with everything to do with bureaucracy, you will need to furnish numerous documents but since Spain actually needs to increase its workforce, generally there won’t be a problem even if it takes a while.

Working visas fall into several categories:

  • Seasonal and limited working visa. Valid for up to 9 months.
  • Initial work visa. Valid for up to one year. For this you will need a specific work offer.
  • Renewed work visa is an extension of the one listed above for up to 2 years.
  • Permanent work visa. This option permits working anywhere permanently but the visa will need to be renewed every 5 years.

Each of these types of visa have specific requirements. You should carefully research what they are depending on your circumstances. For more information on visas in Spain, please click here. 

Don’t get discouraged as many non EU citizens currently work in Spain and often get help to negotiate the visa applications from their employer. The government is aware that the country needs foreign workers in many fields and is unlikely to block most requests for work visas.

Now talk to an immigration and visa lawyer…

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