The Life of An Expat: A Guide to the Spain Unemployment Rate and Job Market

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Oct 15, 2018

Oct 15, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

To-die-for food. Fantastic healthcare. Lower cost of living.

Need we say more?

With its intrigue and countless draws, you might wonder why the Spanish population continues to decline. Here's the unfortunate truth: unemployment is high.

But the economy is gaining traction.

If you've dreamed of moving to this country, now is the time. Let us be your virtual guide so that, even with the Spain unemployment rate, you can find success in one of the most beautiful locations the world has to offer.

Why Spain?

Spain has so much to offer expats it's more than worth the effort of finding and securing a position there.

On top of that, right now landing a job is easier than you think.

The most prominent reason it's an ideal location is its rich culture, which is one of the most distinctive in all of Europe. Citizens enjoy raucous fiestas, savory foods, delightful music, and daily siestas.

In one word, the culture is vibrant, and there is never a lack of things to see or do. View here for a small glimpse at the possibilities.

In addition to the people, expats will marvel at the landscape Spain reveals. Dominated by a high plateau, citizens and visitors are met with coastal plains, lowland river valleys, deserts and more.

The greatest draw for many is that they have the time to enjoy everything that captivates visitors; the cost of living is considerably lower than in the US and UK, meaning workers have ample time to take in all of the nation's delights.

And then there's the healthcare, ranked as one of the best in the world.

Putting it simply, expats have much to look forward to.

The Spain Unemployment Rate

Spain fell victim to one of its worst financial crises in 2008, leading to a startling rise in unemployment. By 2013, its unemployment rate was over 25%.

Today, however, the future is bright. Unemployment rates are falling as both permanent and temporary jobs find their way back to the market. Currently, unemployment is at about 15 to 16%.

Economists suspect this percentage will continue to decline in 2019. For international individuals seeking jobs, it's the perfect time to find a lasting career and move to Spain for good.

The Job Market

As employment rises, many individuals are putting aside past anxieties about moving there.

If you're ready to enjoy the culture, food and beautiful sights, it's time to gain a thorough understanding of the job market and your many possibilities within it.


We have good news for those with education and experience. Surveys have found Spain now has plenty of jobs, but its companies can't find the right people to fill them.

"We were looking for people for two months," headhunter Samuel Pimentel told ZeroHedge. "We managed to find one in Spain. We turned to Argentina for others."

What does this mean? Quite simply, it means there are ample opportunities for qualified candidates wishing to join the expat community. More frequently than ever before, businesses are turning to other countries to find the qualifications they require.

For those with degrees, certifications or experience within their trade, the dream of moving to Spain is now a very real possibility. If you have the appropriate experience and knowledge, it's a prime time to apply.

Booming Sectors

Specific areas of the job market are blossoming.

Research suggests the service, construction, and industrial sectors are growing, leading to more career opportunities for those searching for work.

In particular, several posts and areas are in an upward spiral:

  • Consultants
  • Various IT positions
  • Teachers
  • Engineers
  • Positions in the tourism industry
  • Distribution and transport posts

The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training forecasts most job opportunities to be in sales and service through 2025.

Geographic Differences

The amount of openings varies according to location. Consequently, comprehending the job market as it relates to geographical placement is necessary.

Vacancies occur more frequently in the larger cities, and those unfamiliar with the Spanish language should seek out expat communities.

Starting points to consider include:

  • Madrid
  • Barcelona
  • Valencia
  • Malaga
  • Seville

Of course, openings are plentiful elsewhere, but areas like these have the highest amount of posted positions.

Tips for Applying

Ready to move? If so, consider these tips to increase your chances of obtaining a career in Spain.

Speak Spanish

Unless you're seeking a job solely in the expat community, such as teaching English, those dreaming of a career in Spain will be hard pressed to find a position unless they speak the language.

In fact, you'll probably use it to apply to a post.

Learning Spanish your first step in obtaining a career, but keep in mind Spain has several regional languages that pronounce words differently or change them completely.

Don't let that sway you. If you have a basic working knowledge of Spanish, you can learn the regional dialects after arriving. With that being said, it is advisable to have enough speaking power to hold basic conversations.

Get the CV Right

Adjust resumes appropriately. European countries expect different formats and information than North American CVs.

Write everything out in Spanish and have it checked over by someone fluent in the language. Include a color photo of yourself and emphasize your strengths as an employee rather than broadening the CV to provide an in-depth look at your entire career.

Do this, and the employer who sees your resume is sure to be impressed!


If you know someone in the country, reach out. Ask established expat communities for help and increase your online presence. Do everything you can to meet as many new people as possible.

Even in Spain, networking is very important.

Your Prospects

Don't let rumors about the Spain unemployment rate deter you. Spain's economy is growing, and right now is the best time to find a position in this small bit of paradise.

And if you're, say, a travel writer wanting to move to Spain, don't stomp on your dreams. Read all about finding success as a travel writer here.

It's time to dream of sangrias and blue ocean water.