Labor market trends in Spain: requirements and ways to obtain a work visa

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Labor market trends in Spain: requirements and ways to obtain a work visa

Spain is currently experiencing a rapid increase in unemployment due to job cuts and an increase in the number of active people. Because of this, the Spanish labor market is experiencing some stagnation. Learn more about the requirements and ways to obtain a work visa in Spain

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Spain's labor market is currently experiencing strong stagnation due to unemployment, job cuts, and a growing active population. The current low rate of job creation means that there is a significant mismatch between supply and demand in the labor market.

Spain's labor market is one of the most dynamic in Europe. Between 2014 and 2018, the economy created more than 2 million net jobs, just under 30% of all jobs created in the eurozone during that period. As a result, the unemployment rate has fallen, although it has not recovered all the ground lost during the crisis. 

Given the high level of unemployment and the social problems it brings with it, many argue that the labor market in Spain has a structural problem. The global economic crisis is the main cause of rising unemployment rates in almost all countries, but in Spain it has had a particularly pronounced impact, suggesting that the Spanish labor market is highly dependent on economic cycles. Although the number of job openings has fallen significantly, some sectors have weathered the crisis better than others.


The main characteristics of the Spanish labor market are:

1. The high unemployment rate. One of the highest in the European Union, but also in first place among globalized countries.

2. A very high youth unemployment rate, close to 60%. Many young people are looking for their first employment opportunity.

3. Most contracts are temporary.

4. High demographic concentration of vacancies and the areas with the highest unemployment. Madrid, Catalonia, and the Basque Country are the regions of Spain with the highest number of job offers.

5. The emergence of new forms of work, such as telecommuting.

6. A strong impetus for self-employment or freelance work.

7. Most job offers are in the service sector.


Labor market trends in Spain

Depending on the company and industry, some professions are more in demand than others. Working emigration to Spain has the following common features:

  • Higher education or qualifications, especially technical, related to new technologies or more economic.
  • Knowledge of languages, especially English. There is a growing demand for profiles in Chinese or Russian.
  • A prerequisite in many jobs is work experience in the chosen field or general skills. 
  • Mobility, in some cases international.
  • Proficiency and knowledge of new technologies, especially those related to the Internet.

Foreign nationals wishing to engage in any professional or gainful employment activity, whether self-employed or salaried, will require a work visa to Spain, which can only be obtained at the Spanish Consulate in the country of residence. Previously, the employer - company or entrepreneur - had to apply for a residence and work permit through the competent regional body.

Individuals with a residence permit can skip all the steps described below. On the other hand, the same process cannot be carried out by those who are in Spain on a short-term tourist visa or illegally.