Spain’s most respected and least loved jobs

A recent survey into people's opinions of different professions in Spain found that doctors and teachers come out trumps while journalists and lawyers earned a big thumbs down. For this week's JobTalk, The Local spoke to people practising these professions and got their reactions to the news.

Spain's most respected and least loved jobs
Teachers and doctors are gaining prestige during Spain's crisis. Photo: Adrian Serghie

Spanish research foundation CIS recently asked people around the country to rate a range of professions out of a total of 100 points.

The survey found that teaching, with a score of around 74 percent, and being a doctor (81.58 percent) were the most respected jobs in Spain.

At the other end of the scale, people rated lawyers (61.8 percent) and journalists (59.09 percent) very poorly.

Below, we find out what people engaged in these four very different professions had to say about how the current social status of their jobs in Spain.

The doctor

"Medical professionals have scored high because they give much more importance to patients' views and opinions than they used to do," Rodrigo Martín Hernández, President of Santa Cruz of Tenerife's School of Doctors told The Local.

"Had the CIS survey included what Spanish people think of the service we offer while they are still on the waiting list, I'm sure the results would have been quite different.

"Spain's public health system is well regarded internationally but we're now having to deal with a series of financial cutbacks that politicians are calling reforms.

"We're aiming to develop a clearer system that increases awareness about medical care and medical history so that patients know if they have to go to an outpatients clinic or to the ER.

"We want them to feel empowered and for them to see how they move through the system quickly and efficiently."

The teacher

"I'm surprised that teachers are rated so high in the CIS study, to be honest," says Macarena, a high school teacher from Andalusia currently on maternity leave.

"In my opinion, the teaching profession is not well respected at all, and families don't appreciate the work we do.

"People see that we have a lot of holidays, but they don't see the hours of preparation that we put in, or all the correcting we have to do. 

"The atmosphere is also very bad in schools at present, with teachers working more for the same amount of money.

"I am out on leave at the moment but my colleagues are now working at least 20 [teaching] hours rather than the 18 which used to be the case. 

"At the same time, we weren't paid the 13th month (Christmas bonus) last year, and salaries have been frozen for the four years I've been in the system. 

"In general, there's a feeling among teachers that the whole education sector is taking a backwards step."

The journalist

"Spain's crisis has had a negative influence over the quality of journalism," Elsa González, the president of Spain's journalism association (FAPE), told The Local.

"Journalists are in some instances having to work for free or produce content they know is not of a high standard because they don't have a choice if they want to get paid.

"Structural reforms and massive layoffs like in Spanish daily El País are also affecting the overall quality and in-depth analysis of good journalism. It's becoming more politicized and we're losing credibility.

"But even if journalists may seem not very popular in this day and age, journalism is the only university degree — together with medicine — that actually has more students enrolling than ever."

The lawyer

"The polls we've done with research firm Metroscopia show that people's opinions of lawyers are comfortably in the medium-high range," Andrés Garvi, Chief Editor of Communications and Marketing for the General Council of Spanish Lawyers told The Local.

"This could even seem a bit surprising given the sort of work that lawyers do. Lawyers are always taking sides. They enjoy the total confidence of the party they represent but they can't help arousing distrust in the opposing party.

"This two-sided image of lawyers could lead to people being ambivalent about the role of lawyers, but this isn't the case.

"Spanish people realize that lawyers, by representing their clients, are making a contribution to justice. They are carrying out a function which is in the public interest.

"In terms of our reputation, you also have to take into account that lawyers are a unique profession. In any case that goes to court, there are lawyers on both sides.

"Because of that, the vision people have of lawyers depends on whether their lawyer has won or lost the case for them."

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