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Finding work in Spain in Covid times: the most in-demand jobs

Finding work in Spain in Covid times: the most in-demand jobs
Photo: Brooke Cagle/Unsplash
Getting a well-paid and secure job in Spain was challenging enough before the coronavirus pandemic. So where do foreigners looking for work in the country now stand when it comes to landing "trabajo" in a weakened labour market? And what jobs will be most sought after in post-Covid Spain?

First, the bad news.

One of the saddest consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic for Spain’s work market is that, after years of gradual recovery from “la crisis”, the country’s economy is once again staring into the abyss.

Spain’s current unemployment rate is still not as sky-high as it was when it peaked at 27 percent back in 2013, but the full consequences of Covid-19 on the economy haven’t been felt yet.

According to Eurostat, Spain saw an unprecedented drop of 18.5 percent in its GDP in the second quarter of 2020, more so than any other EU country and enough to push its economy into recession.

Around 1.35 million jobs – most of them in tourism – were destroyed during the months of lockdown, the country’s National Statistics Institute (INE) reported in July.

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A further 739,000 workers were still receiving protection through the country’s temporary redundancy plans (ERTE) in February.

In late September the Spanish government announced it would extend this coronavirus furlough scheme until the end of January, (and again until May) which means that until then and in the months following that financial aid withdrawal, it will be hard to judge just how many people will be laid off.

All this is fairly disheartening information if you’re looking for a job in Spain, but it shouldn’t necessarily deter you from moving here or staying here.

“Spain has a historic opportunity to use the Recovery Fund and look at best practices from other EU countries to lessen the chronic weaknesses of its labour market,” BBVA Institute researcher Rafael Doménech writes.

So, is there a silver lining?

The advent and acceptance of teleworking in Spain as a result of the coronavirus lockdown and other mobility restrictions opens up more possibilities in terms of flexible working conditions for foreigners and locals.

This means that if you don’t want to commute to a Spanish city every day or live in one, and your job allows for it, you have higher chances of negotiating remote working.

“This change has arisen unexpectedly and it is evident that it has caused an absolute revolution in the way of working in Spain”, Manuel Primo, director of Europea University’s master’s degree in Human Resources Management, told ABC.

Studies by human resources and recruitment leaders such as Adecco and ManpowerGroup carried out before and after the start of the pandemic also suggest that many job trends in Spain remain the same.

Professional training and language teaching are still sought after professions in Spain. Photo: Neonbrand/Unplash

Although it’s true that the outlook for Spain’s all-important tourism and hospitality industry (accounting for around 12 percent of Spain’s GDP and 2.6 million jobs) depends largely on how long the virus lasts , the shift towards automation and digitalisation is now stronger than ever. 

An Adecco report published in February 2020 before Spain’s lockdown suggested that new technologies such as artificial intelligence, e-commerce, cybersecurity, app and web development and big data analysis were some of the sectors in Spain with the lowest unemployment rates.

Adecco’s report in May found that these online digital job fields are still very sought after.

“All companies have seen the need to digitize their organizations, and this is no longer going backwards,” Carmen Mur, founder of the Mur & Partners consultancy firm for engineers, told El País.

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What are the most in-demand jobs in Spain currently?

According to Adecco Institute, employers are not just interested in finding candidates with tech skills.

The lockdown’s essential workers continue to be some of Spain’s most sought after as the country recovers from the coronavirus.

Commerce and distribution

Warehouse personnel

Supermarket assistant

Delivery person

Manufacturing

Factory workers

Agriculture

Fruit picker

Customer service

Operator, sales

Admin and secretary (languages wanted)

IT

Help Desk technicians

Technical teams (app and web developers)

Health

Care home workers

Specialised health workers: doctors, nurses, social service workers

Group services

In-person service at hospitals, care homes, canteens

Public service

Cleaning personnel

Bus driver

Other workers in the health, pharmaceutical, food and transport sector will continue to be highly sought after as they were during the height of the pandemic.

“We’re getting a lot of requests for temporary workers, consulting solutions for health and safety matters relating to the return to the workplace, training of workers on the furlough scheme, outsourcing of new extra tasks in sectors that require specific health and safety measures and even highly qualified roles to address medium-term strategies,” Rubén Castro, commercial director of the Adecco Group in Spain, explains in his company report.

Where do foreigners in Spain stand in terms of jobs?

Foreigners can take advantage of skill they’ve acquired in other countries to have the competitive edge in Spain.

This can also help to make up for a lack of proficiency in Spanish (a good command of the language is a must in most companies). 

Professional training is also highly sought after in post-Covid Spain so you may be able to give courses in your speciality.

According to Expatica, foreigners “can still find jobs in Spain in a number of sectors including IT, automotive, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, food and beverage and tourism”.

Job opportunities vary greatly across Spain’s different regions, which you can check on EURES job mobility portal.

Language skills continue to be a good way for foreigners to land a job in Spain.

Whether it’s through English teaching or a job in real estate or customer services, foreign languages can help international candidates stand out. Once Spain’s tourism industry has recovered, there will also be opportunities for English speakers and linguists in Spain.

Many more school teachers are also needed in post-Covid Spain, with the latest reports pointing to a lack of 160,000 teachers in public schools, some of which are international.  

You can search for English language jobs on The Local’s Jobs portal.

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Jobs in Spain

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