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WORKING IN SPAIN

Meta, IBM, Google, Amazon: How thousands of tech jobs are being created in Spain 

Tech workers who have dreamt of living and working in Spain are in luck, as some of the biggest tech companies in the world are looking to invest heavily in Spain in the coming months and years, creating thousands of jobs in the process. 

Meta, IBM, Google, Amazon: How thousands of tech jobs are being created in Spain 
The cloud computing race is on in Spain, meaning thousands of data centre jobs will be offered in the country in the coming years. (Photo by DAMIEN MEYER / AFP)

Meta, IBM, Google and Amazon are among the big players that have announced they will set up billion-euro data centres and other tech infrastructure in Spain in the coming years. 

In layman’s terms, data centres are buildings used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems. 

Some of the jobs on offer at data centres include data engineers, electrical and mechanical supervisors, project managers and surveyors, to name a few.

Although good news for a country which has struggled to diversify its economy past its dependency on tourism, Spain is currently struggling to find highly skilled IT and tech professionals to meet the existing demand. 

It remains to be seen if the new digital transformation plans that the Spanish government is developing with billions of euros in European funds will provide a solution to this shortage, but it does open the door to highly experienced foreign workers who wish to further their career in Spain. 

Here are more details on the projects and job creation targets announced by these major industry players which are investing heavily in cloud computing in Spain.  

Meta

Meta, the new name Facebook goes by, has committed to employing 2,000 new employees in Spain.

The social media giant, which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, also plans to invest in Spain’s digital infrastructure with a new transatlantic cable and a €1 billion data centre in the town of Talavera de la Reina in the central Castilla-La Mancha region.

It will be Meta’s first data centre in southern Europe as the existing ones are located in Sweden, Denmark and Ireland. 

“As our company prepares to help build the metaverse, we are placing Spain at the centre of our plans by creating new highly-skilled jobs, supporting local tech companies and entrepreneurs, and investing in essential digital infrastructure, Vice President of Meta Javier Oliván said following his meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on March 15th. 

The company headed by Mark Zuckerberg has not yet specified what exactly its projects in Spain will be, but it has said that they will represent “an investment of several billion euros” and that they will provide more information about each project in due course.

What the tech giant has disclosed is that it will open the first Meta Lab in the world in Spain, a place of support and innovation for Meta’s remote workers, with space for technological entrepreneurs and startups.

The company, which will also double its office space in Madrid, has said its chosen to invest heavily in Spain because “it is at the forefront of European technology” and has two major technology centres in Madrid and Barcelona and two other smaller ones in Valencia and Andalusia.

Amazon

Amazon ‘s AWS (Amazon Web Services) cloud service will open three new data centres in Spain to improve the infrastructure in Spain, Europe and elsewhere. 

The online shopping giant currently has data centres throughout the world but not in Spain, where they are expected to be set up in 2022 and 2023. The northeastern region of Aragón is one of the chosen locations for these data centres.

Amazon estimates the projects will increase Spain’s GDP by around €1.8 billion and create 1,300 new jobs in the next ten years.

According to the company headed by Jeff Bezos, “Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform, offering over 200 fully featured services from data centres globally”. 

Customers such as Telefónica use it to lower costs, become more agile, and innovate faster, for example through technology that allows clients to see the carbon footprint of their work.

Google 

The world’s most used search engine has already chosen Spain for its future cloud computing projects, with a Google Cloud region set to be created in the Spanish capital, which will include three data centres.

IBM

The American multinational technology corporation in 2021 announced it will open three data centres in Madrid and in the nearby towns of Alcobendas and Las Rozas.

It is expected the centres will be operational in 2023 and lead to the creation of hundreds of jobs. 

Oracle

Software giant Oracle has joined the race to develop cloud technologies in Spain, announcing in late 2021 that it would set up a data centre in Spain without specifying yet where this will be.

Microsoft

The company headed by Bill Gates opened a cloud region data centre in Spain in 2022 with the help of the Telefónica network and over the coming years is forecast to directly or indirectly create 55,000 jobs in Spain. 

READ ALSO: The most in-demand jobs in Spain in 2022

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WOMEN'S RIGHTS

Spanish government divided over proposed menstruation leave bill

Talk of abortion policy reform and proposed menstrual leave has dominated Spanish discourse this week, but it’s also dividing Spain’s coalition government.

Spanish government divided over proposed menstruation leave bill

Spain’s PSOE-fronted coalition government recently outlined proposals that have dominated public discourse in the country.

But the legislation, which would allow women over the age of 16 to get abortions without the permission of their parents and introduce ‘menstruation leave’ for those suffering serious period pains, has not only divided Spanish society but the government itself.

The proposals would make Spain a leader in the Western world, and the first European Union member state to introduce menstrual leave, and changes to abortion law would overturn a 2015 law passed by the conservative People’s Party that forced women aged 16 and 17 to obtain parental consent.

The wide-ranging bill would also end VAT on menstrual products, increase the free distribution of them in schools, and allow between three and five days of leave each month for women who experience particularly painful periods.

READ MORE: What are Spain’s abortion laws for foreign residents and visitors?

Menstrual leave

Ángela Rodríguez, the Secretary of State for Equality, told Spanish newspaper El Periódico in March that “it’s important to be clear about what a painful period is – we’re not talking about slight discomfort, but about serious symptoms such as diarrhoea, fever and bad headaches.”

“When there’s a problem that can’t be solved medically, we think it’s very sensible to have temporary sick leave,” she added.

Cabinet politics

The proposals are slated for approval in cabinet next week, and judging by reports in the Spanish media this week, it is far from reaching a consensus. It is believed the intra-cabinet tensions stem not from the changes to abortion and contraception accessibility, but rather the proposed menstrual leave.

The junior coalition partner in government, Podemos, largely supports the bill, but it is believed some in the PSOE ranks are more sceptical about the symbolism and employment effects of the proposed period pain policy.

Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño, said this week: “Let me repeat it very clearly: this government believes and is absolutely committed to gender equality and we will never adopt measures that may result in a stigmatisation of women.”

Yet Second Vice President and Minister of Labour, Yolanda Díaz, who is viewed as further to the left than President Pedro Sánchez and other PSOE cabinet ministers, is reportedly “absolutely in favour” of the measure to reform Spain’s “deeply masculinised” labour market.

Sources in the Spanish media have this week also reported that some PSOE cabinet ministers feel the proposed paid leave not only plays up to stereotypes of women, or stigmatises them, like Calviño says, but also places them at a disadvantage in the world of work.

Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, stated that while the government should seek to improve women’s employment protections, it should also seek to boost their participation in the labour market under “better conditions.”

In that vein, some feel menstrual leave could be used a form of of employment discrimination similarly to how pregnancy has been historically, and the policy would, in that sense, actually be more regressive than progressive in enshrining women’s workplace rights. 

READ MORE: Spain eyes free contraception for under-25’s

Trade unions

Trade unions are also sceptical of the menstrual leave legislation. Cristina Antoñanzas, deputy secretary of UGT, one of Spain’s largest trade unions, has echoed those in the cabinet who feel the proposals could “stigmatise women.” She added that “it does women a disservice.”

Public opinion

A survey run by INTIMINA found that 67 percent of Spanish women are in favour of regulating menstrual leave, but also that 75 percent fear it is “a double-edged sword” that could generate labor discrimination.

The survey also found that 88 percent of women who suffer from disabling and frequent period pain have gone to work despite it. Seventy-one percent admitted that they have normalised working with pain.

Cabinet showdown

The proposed menstrual leave policy will be debated in cabinet next week when the Council of Ministers debates and approves the broader abortion and contraception reforms. According to sources in the Spanish media, and many cabinet ministers themselves, it seems a consensus on menstruation leave is a long way off.




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