Spain's top expat jobs

Alex Dunham
Alex Dunham - [email protected]
Spain's top expat jobs
Don't be put off from looking for a job in Spain if you don't speak the language. Photo: Victor1558/Flickr

If your hopes of looking for work in Spain have been dented by news of sky-high unemployment rates, ever-decreasing salaries and long working hours, think again.


There are still a number of industries where skilled foreign employees are very much in demand. We spoke to recruiting specialists and expats with on-the-ground knowledge to find out which jobs are hot in 2013.
Engineering: According to a recent study by recruitment giant Manpower, engineering was the most sought-after qualification in Spain in 2012. If you have some valuable work experience under your belt and can understand enough technical Spanish to communicate with co-workers, you may well be in with a shot. Test engineer at Airbus Spain Héctor López has several foreign colleagues: "At a big multinational like this, you can get away with only speaking English. It's unlikely you can for a small national firm though."
Customer service and after-sales assistance: If languages are your forte, you're in with a chance of getting work at one of the many call centres international companies have in Spain. Speaking Finnish, German or Danish may prove more crucial than Spanish!
IT: Tech jobs aimed at expats are widely advertised online, from software testers with French to programmers with Dutch. Manpower told The Local that Spanish recruiters are currently scouring  the job market for iOS and Android developers, SAP experts and SEO and SEM strategists.
Finance: Leticia Herrán, director at Antal International's Spain recruitment agency, thinks local job candidates for financial roles tend to lack international experience that foreign contenders often have. "If the job involves working on an international scale rather than just in Spain, foreign candidates don't necessarily have to be fluent in Spanish." Manpower headhunter María José Martín adds, "If you have relevant experience, languages and are willing to relocate, you can find a job as a financial director, collections manager or treasury inspector." 
Online Marketing: International accounts manager Benoit Folinais says he spoke little-to-no Spanish when he landed his first online marketing job in Madrid five years ago. He's since worked for internet companies Zenio, Kelkoo and now Yahoo. "Although I'm now fluent in Spanish, I landed most of my jobs by being proactive, networking on LinkedIn and with other expats in Spain, and by speaking three other languages." Community and social media management jobs are widely advertised on Spanish job sites.
Skilled trades: Manpower’s study on Spain’s skills shortage points out the lack of skilled manual labourers. If you’re a plumber, mechanic, welder or electrician who speaks Spanish or is willing to learn, you could well be in luck.
Language teaching: Seen by many expats as a means of making an ‘easy’ living or as a useful back-up plan whilst looking for other work, teaching English in Spain can certainly be worthwhile. Flexible hours, good pay and plenty of demand make it a great way to kick-start your Spanish career. Many other languages are also sought after for private lessons or in offices. Make sure you contact language schools before moving and get a fast-track qualification in teaching if you have no prior experience.
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