Opportunities Abroad: Finding Jobs in Spain for English Speakers

What’s on this page?

  1. Current Job Market for English Speakers
  2. Types of English-Speaking Jobs in Spain
  3. How to Find a Job in Spain
  4. Language Requirements and Skills
  5. Employment process algorithm
  6. Obtaining a Work Visa
  7. Adaptation to the Spanish Way of Life
  8. Employment Rights and Benefits

Today, a large number of people move freely around the world in search of better living, working and leisure conditions. Spain is one of the attractive destinations for emigration due to its excellent climate, relatively low cost of living, developed urban infrastructure, rich history and culture. Currently, more than seven million immigrants live in Spain, most of whom are native English speakers, for whom English-speaking jobs in Spain are very important.

Young people in Spain

The Spanish job market is going through difficult times right now. The unemployment rate is quite high, especially among young people. Thus, as of April 2024, it is 12.3%, and among young people - 26.4%. However, this does not mean at all that the path to good employment in Spain is closed for foreigners. Jobs in Spain for English speakers offer many interesting and well-paid vacancies. It is important to correctly determine the direction of your job search and meet the employer’s requirements.

Current Job Market for English Speakers

In Spain, all regions of the country are attractive for living: from large cities to seaside resorts and small towns and villages in the rural hinterland. However, it is best to look for jobs for English speakers in Spain in big cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville. Many enterprises in the industrial and service sectors, developed medium and small businesses, the presence of communities of expats from different countries where you can get help in finding a job - all this increases the likelihood of successful employment.

In large cities there are offices of large international companies, where you can find the best jobs in Spain for English speakers. In other places, foreign job seekers may be offered vacancies in the fields of tourism, hotel and restaurant business, and English language courses.

Foreigners usually face quite stiff competition when looking for work from natives. However, employers often give advantages to foreign citizens when:

  • the qualifications, knowledge and experience of the foreign worker are at a higher level;
  • foreigners, in addition to their native English, speak Spanish well;
  • a foreign worker is more organized and disciplined, which is tested during the internship.

Types of English-Speaking Jobs in Spain

The biggest number of vacancies in Spain can be found in the following industries:

  • IT engineering and IT security;
  • finance;
  • analytics;
  • healthcare;
  • social sphere;
  • aviation;
  • education;
  • translation;
  • marketing.

IT industry in Spain

However, jobs in Spain for English speakers in these areas require excellent knowledge of the Spanish language. On the other hand, in such industries there is often a lack of knowledge, skills and experience among local workers, and in such cases preference may be given to foreign specialists.

What jobs can be offered to English-speaking professionals in the leading sectors of the Spanish economy?

Branch of the economy Jobs
Finance Business consultant, financial analyst, international financial manager, collection manager
IT industry Software tester, programmer, system administrator
Industry sector Mechanical Engineer, Industrial Engineer
Healthcare Subspecialists, specialists in child and elderly care
Tourism and services Specialists in tourism, hotel and restaurant business
Education English teacher
Working specialties Locksmiths, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, welders

If we are talking about looking for a job by a person living in a large city, then there is a fairly high probability of employment in accordance with the education and work experience obtained in the country from which the English-speaking person came. If your place of residence is a resort on the sea coast, then your search should focus on service sectors such as tourism, hotel and restaurant business. When the applicant lives in a small town or village in central and northern Spain, they need to look for vacancies in agriculture, with small producers, or start with seasonal work.

Tourists in Spain

Of particular interest are jobs in Spain for English speakers in the summer. On the coasts of the Costa Blanca, Costa Calida, Costa del Sol, Balearic and Canary Islands, there is a large influx of tourists from different countries in the summer. At this time, it is quite easy to find work in shops, bars, restaurants and hotels in coastal cities. Self-employment and freelancing deserve special attention as excellent work options for English speakers. In Spain, about 15% of able-bodied citizens are engaged in developing their own business.

How to Find a Job in Spain?

Finding a job is a complex and responsible process, especially if it happens in a new country of residence with its own laws and foundations. There are not very many English-speaking jobs in Spain, given that not all native Spaniards are familiar with the English language. Therefore, you need to decide on a job search strategy: whether to accept any offered vacancy in order to consolidate and gain some experience in the hope that over time something better will be found or methodically search only for what will bring good income and moral satisfaction.

Having determined your own strategy, you should consider and select sources of information offering jobs. Such sources may be:

  • recruitment agencies;
  • publications in the Spanish press, including special printed publications for immigrants;
  • networking - through useful contacts;
  • Internet resources;
  • participation in forums, job search groups, etc.

Recruitment agencies in Spain

To find English jobs in Spain, you need to be proactive. In particular, send resumes to companies where, in the opinion of the applicant, suitable jobs can be found. The resume should be informative on the one hand, and concise on the other. You should describe your professional skills and knowledge, achievements in previous jobs, and describe your best professional and human qualities. If possible, you should track the receipt of your resume and ask the employer’s reaction.

Language Requirements and Skills

First of all, to employ a foreigner in Spain there are a number of requirements:

  • age over 16 years;
  • availability of a valid passport, visa, medical insurance;
  • for certain fields of activity - specialized education, and in some cases - proven experience in the specialty.

Since 2007, Spanish law has allowed foreigners to hold positions in the civil service, which also includes certain positions in the fields of education and health. However, foreigners cannot hold positions as employees in the Bank of Spain and government agencies related to the security sector.

Some vacancies require confirmation of a foreign applicant’s diploma. In the fields of medicine, architecture, journalism, law, etc., diplomas of English-speaking applicants for positions are recognized as identical to Spanish ones. In other cases, the diploma will need to be confirmed by going through a certain procedure consisting of the following stages:

  • submitting an application to the Spanish Ministry of Education;
  • successful passing of an exam at a specialized state higher education institution.

If you are unsuccessful in passing the exam the first time, a second attempt is possible.

Employment process algorithm

To be legally employed in Spain, a foreigner must:

  • find a suitable job and secure a positive hiring decision from the employer;
  • sign a contract for employment;
  • obtain a hiring permit;
  • get a work visa;
  • arrive in Spain and begin performing functional duties.

In the vast majority of cases, searching for work in Spain should be done before arriving in the country or during a preliminary short-term visit that does not require a visa.

Special attention should be paid to knowledge of the Spanish language. An applicant for official employment will significantly improve his chances of finding a suitable vacancy, including English jobs in Spain, by knowing the Spanish language. This may not only apply to employment in an international company or in immigrant communities. Therefore, even before arriving in Spain, it is advisable to take language courses.

Obtaining a Work Visa

To stay in Spain for more than 90 days and obtain legal employment, you must obtain a work visa and work permit. Depending on the field of future activity and other circumstances, there are different types of work visas:

  • long-term;
  • seasonal;
  • Au Pair;
  • EU Blue Card.

Work visa in Spain

For legal employment, a work permit from the Spanish authorities is also required. There are several types of such permits, for example:

Permit type Kind of activity Period it was issued for
Type A Seasonal or one-time work with a limited execution time No more than 12 months
Type B

Two types:

Initial - job in a specific specialty in a specific company or in a specific territory

1 year with possibility of extension up to 2 years
Re-registered - can be obtained after the expiration of the original period. Job in different specialties in a certain territory 2 years
Type C For holders of type B permits upon expiration of the visa. Job in any specialty in any territory 2 years
Type G For employees of companies from non-EU countries. Specific job in a specific location 1 year with the right to extend for another 1 year
Type T For unique specialists. Specific job in a specific area 9 months

The work of self-employed and freelancers also requires obtaining a work permit from the Spanish authorities. This work is considered work "at their own expense". Citizens of other countries who have made a special contribution to the economy or culture of Spain receive a special work permit, which allows them to carry out activities throughout the country without any time limit.

Jobs for English people in Spain require obtaining a work visa. The process of obtaining such a visa involves submitting documents for a Spanish work visa to the Spanish consulate of the applicant's country of residence. The package of documents includes:

  • application;
  • passport;
  • photo;
  • work contract or business registration certificate;
  • documents confirming the availability of housing and sufficient financial resources;
  • medical certificate;
  • document confirming no criminal record;
  • document confirming payment of the visa fee.

Adaptation to the Spanish Way of Life

Moving to Spain is not only about finding a good job, in particular, the best jobs in Spain for English speakers. Familiarization and adaptation to new living conditions is of great importance. Therefore, before moving, you need to familiarize yourself with information about the style and cost of living in Spain. Spaniards highly value their personal space and devote a lot of time to relaxing and communicating with family and friends. In the life of the average Spaniard, work does not occupy a leading place, as, for example, in Japan. Distinctive features of the Spanish lifestyle are leisurely and measured.

Spaniards highly value a foreigner's command of the Spanish language. If you study the language daily, you can achieve a high level of knowledge in 2.5-3 years. The faster you learn the language, the easier it will be for you to communicate with neighbors and sellers, the faster you will be understood by government authorities, the more successful your search for English jobs in Spain will be.

Spanish language courses

Adaptation to the Spanish way of life can vary from person to person. Few people immediately accept the new world around them. Often, newcomers are faced with new life circumstances without being prepared for them, and this results in misperceptions, misunderstandings and disappointment.

An example is the afternoon siesta - a 2- or 3-hour break from the working day during the heat of the day, when Spaniards relax in the shade, have a leisurely lunch or sleep. Due to the siesta, the working day can last until 20-00 - 21-00, which is unusual and often unacceptable for visitors from English-speaking countries, where the pace of life is very high.

An important component of adaptation is taste preferences. There are probably few people who have not heard about the wonderful Mediterranean cuisine: being healthy and having excellent taste. However, for example, for young Americans who are accustomed to eating fast food on the go, it is difficult to get used to a measured meal while having a leisurely conversation. For the Spaniards, food is a kind of ritual and this is not the worst tradition; it is not for nothing that the life expectancy of the Spaniards is one of the highest in the world.

How to overcome the negative perception of the new environment and quickly adapt to life in Spain? Among the main methods we can mention the following:

  • avoid judgment, but take a closer look and get used to it. It is possible that over time you will like the new lifestyle;
  • make friends among native Spaniards, to do this, take the initiative, do not limit yourself to communicating only with people from your country;
  • participate in the work of public organizations, engage in volunteering, sports, tourism, choreography, painting;
  • plan your actions to speed up adaptation to your new life, even before arriving in Spain. Get to know Spaniards through social networks, NGO sites, etc.

It is important to dwell on the main points characterizing the cost of living in Spain. Compared to English-speaking countries in Europe and North America, prices for housing, goods and services in Spain are significantly lower. First of all, an immigrant will be interested in real estate prices in order to decide on a place to live and choose the option of renting or buying a home.

City Average cost of 1 sq. m of housing Cost of apartment with two bedrooms
Madrid € 4970 € 270,000
Barcelona € 4580 € 270,000
Valencia € 2820 € 230,000
Alicante € 2650 € 145,000

It is important to determine your future place of residence before moving to Spain for permanent residence. This may depend on employment and you need to look for housing at the place of your future work. In other cases, you should study the living conditions in different regions of the country, using Internet sources, advice from friends living in Spain. The best way to decide on housing is to come to the country for a short time and get acquainted with the offers on the spot. WTG Spain, a real estate agency with many years of experience, can help with choosing a suitable property and completing the transaction.

Utility prices in Spain are quite reasonable. So, for an apartment with two bedrooms with an area of 95 sq.m. per month you will need to pay € 100-150. This amount includes fees for water, gas and electricity. Spain has a well-developed transport infrastructure tructure The capital Madrid, located in the center of the country, has excellent transport links to all regions. Almost all cities have excellent public transport, so it is absolutely not necessary for everyone to have a personal car.

Foodstuffs in Spain

As for the cost of food and prices in public catering establishments, thanks to developed agriculture, processing industries, and a high level of competition among food manufacturers and sellers, food prices are quite affordable. On average, a family of two spends about € 60 per week on food.

Bread (500 g loaf) € 1.1
Rice (1 kg) € 0.99
Chicken (1 kg) € 6.00
Wine (0.7 l) € 5.00
Dinner at a mid-price restaurant (2 people) € 40.00

In terms of basic cost of living indicators, costs for basic goods and services in Spain are 20% lower than in the UK and 14% lower than in the US.

Employment Rights and Benefits

For workers who come on a legal basis from English-speaking countries to work in Spain, Spanish law guarantees employment, safety and well-being. Regulated areas of employment of foreign workers in Spain include:

  • contracts;
  • work time;
  • vacation;
  • wage;
  • privileges.

Spain has traditionally maintained a balance between work and personal life, as evidenced by the following data:

Index Data for Spain Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Average household annual income € 20,000 € 27,568
Number of overtime workers 4% 11%
Average working hours per year 1686 hours 1726 hours

An employment contract in Spain can be concluded with persons over 18 years of age. With parental permission, you can work after turning 16 years old. People under 16 years of age are prohibited from working in Spain, with some minor exceptions. If the employer demands the fulfillment of tasks not provided for in the contract, with greater physical and intellectual costs, then the employee may qualify for a higher salary and the right to advance up the career ladder.

The probationary period for employment can last from two to six months and cannot exceed six months. Part-time and remote work contracts are possible. The working week in Spain lasts no more than 40 hours. There must be at least 15 hours between the end of one working day and the beginning of the next. After six hours of continuous work there should be a 15-minute break. Weekly rest must be at least 1.5 days without a break. You cannot work more than 80 hours of overtime per year.

Paid leave according to labor legislation is 22 working (30 calendar) days. Vacations can be split, but one of the periods must be at least two weeks. There are many holidays in Spain, both national and regional. If a holiday falls on a Sunday, then the following Monday automatically becomes a day off.

In Spain, at the birth of a child, the rights of both parents are practically equal. For them, maternity and paternity leave is 16 weeks. In case of illness, employees may qualify for temporary disability benefits. It is calculated the following way:

  • the first three days are not paid;
  • 4-20 days - 60% of salary or insurance basis;
  • from 21 days - 75% of salary or insurance basis.
  • Payments of 100% of salary or insurance base are possible.

Foreigners working in Spain must register with social security and pay taxes on time.

Thus, despite the fairly high unemployment rate in Spain, especially among young people, English-speaking immigrants have a fairly high probability of successful employment. To do this, you need to carefully prepare and, even before arriving in Spain, study the available job offers on Internet resources, contact recruitment agencies, and ask friends living in Spain about possible information about vacancies. You need to take the initiative and send your resume to companies you are interested in working for.

It is easier to find work for English-speaking foreigners in large cities, where there is a wide range of companies that may need specialists. In other localities, it will most likely be possible to find employment in tourism, hotel and restaurant business, and trade. In rural areas, this could be work on a farm or small-scale production. Self-employment and freelancing may be a promising direction for finding work.

Factors for successful employment for English-speaking foreigners are:

  • high qualification;
  • personal discipline and organization;
  • initiative;
  • adaptability;
  • knowledge of Spanish.

Spain is a developed European country where you can build a life in accordance with your desires and needs. Here people traditionally harmonize work and personal life, duties and leisure, creating excellent conditions for themselves and their loved ones. By moving to Spain for permanent residence, you can significantly improve your life.


Are there jobs in Spain specifically for English speakers?

Yes, there are job opportunities in Spain tailored for English speakers, especially in industries such as tourism, education, IT, and customer service.

What are some popular job sectors for English speakers in Spain?

Popular job sectors for English speakers in Spain include teaching English, hospitality and tourism, customer service, IT and technology, and language interpretation.

Do I need to speak Spanish to find a job in Spain as an English speaker?

While proficiency in Spanish is beneficial, especially for certain roles, there are still opportunities for English speakers in Spain, particularly in multinational companies and industries with a high demand for English language skills.

How can I search for jobs in Spain as an English speaker?

You can search for jobs in Spain through online job portals, recruitment agencies, networking, and directly contacting companies. Additionally, attending job fairs and events targeted at English speakers can be helpful in finding employment opportunities.


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