Expat Job Opportunities In Spain Today

Published on 2/1/2010 in Working in Spain

After publishing last week's article on being a "cyber hippy", I was intrigued to read some of the comments left by some of the readers.

So I thought I'd take this opportunity to clarify what the article was really about.

I met someone at the gym today who moved over here four weeks ago. He said it has always been his dream to live in Spain and now that he's retired he's enjoying every minute of it. And good on him, it's what he's always wanted to do do and so he's doing it.

Job searchBut not all of us are so lucky enough to be able to forget about earning a living and not everyone wants to wait until they retire to move to Spain. We moved here nearly six years ago when I was 29 (and I had hair then too). Even back then jobs were scarce so my only real option was to work for myself, which was when I first came up with the idea for Eye on Spain.

Last week's article was intended to make those considering moving to Spain to think about the possibility of starting an online business instead of a physical one. As with any business you DO have to work it really hard and put in horrendous amounts of time, especially during the start-up phase. For the first two years I had no life at all and spent all my time building my business online. Eighty-hour weeks were the norm for me and with very little return in those days.

Why not just get a job?

Not everyone wants to work for themselves. Not everyone is disciplined enough to do it. But if you are looking to move to Spain and get a job then the outlook is quite bleak.

After the gym this morning I was reading the Sur in English newspaper. This is a free weekly newspaper that is distributed all along the Costa del Sol. Over the past couple of years it has become considerably lighter as there are less and less companies around to advertise in it. However, it does have a very good classifieds section full of all the services you need and it also has a jobs section.

If you have a vacancy on the Costa del Sol and you don't already have someone to fill it then chances are you'll be advertising it in the Sur in English.

I always go on about the fact there are only commission-only sales jobs on the Coast these days so I thought I'd put together some proper facts today to prove the point.

I checked each job advert (there weren't that many of them really) and this is what I found:

Total advertised jobs: 72

Location Results:

Location Jobs Advertised Percentage of Total
Jobs on the Costa del Sol 59 82%
Jobs in Gibraltar 12 17%
Jobs in Barcelona 1 1%


Job Type Results:

Job Type Jobs Advertised Percentage of Total
Sales 40 56%
IT 8 11%
Customer Service 7 10%
Secretarial 4 6%
"Adult Services" 4 6%
Housekeeping 2 3%
Entertainment 2 3%
Finance 2 3%
Translators 1 1%
Catering 1 1%
Teaching 1 3%


As you can see I wasn't making it up. 56% of adverts are for sales related jobs, from telesales to closers. All of these jobs are on the Costa del Sol and many adverts actually state "commission only". Those that don't actually state "contract" are probably commission-only too, they just don't state it, but these are the majority.

I was surprised to see the ads for "adult services". They are looking for young women for their "saunas". I am actually quite against this and don't believe the Sur in English needs the money from these types of ads. They really shouldn't allow it but that's just my opinion.

So if you're not a sales person and you don't want to provide adult services, then together they account for 62% of the jobs.

So what are we left with?

There are a few customer service jobs, although most of those actually require a second language and could possibly include a sales element to the job. If that's not your thing either and you don't want sales or adult services, then you are left with just 18% of the jobs advertised.

As you can now see this figures is very close to the number of jobs advertised for Gibraltar (17%), the reason being that Gibraltar really is still creating proper job opportunities.  These jobs are either IT, secretarial or finance. Most are advertised though agencies so I assume they are related to the online gaming companies based in Gibraltar. These jobs are generally permanent jobs with contracts. Gibraltar has provided a huge amount of employment for expats living on the Costa del Sol.

So what next?

I think it's quite clear really. Unless you're a really good sales person and can depend on commissions only then there are plenty of jobs to choose from on the coast. Otherwise your only option is to work in Gibraltar, as many exapts who live in our area currently do.

Maybe it is time to take the idea of being a cyber hippy more seriously.

Written by: Justin Aldridge (EOS)

About the author:

Justin has been running Eye on Spain for over 5 years and recently with his partner Susan launched their popular moving to Spain video guide, Spain Uncut.

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Kay Churchill said:
Tuesday, August 28, 2012 @ 3:49 PM

Well, I have been looking for a native female english teacher to teach intermediate english to teenagers and adults. I am offering good money, a contract, paid holidays and comfortable conditions but can´t find a native person.
if there is anyone out there who fits the bill, please phone me immediately. Kay 649028572
Immediate start.

Work from home / Website blogging / Full training given said:
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 10:05 AM

New online company requires people to create content for blogging site.

All you need is basic typing skills and internet access...

- Full Training
- No experience is required!
- Great rates of pay

Email info@media-es.co.uk

Work from home / Website blogging / Full training given said:
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 10:04 AM

New online company requires people to create content for blogging site.

All you need is basic typing skills and internet access...

- Full Training
- No experience is required!
- Great rates of pay

Email info@media-es.co.uk

paco said:
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 @ 6:01 PM

it will all be okay manana

Dave T said:
Saturday, March 6, 2010 @ 4:20 PM

The auther of the article should do some maths on jobs advertised in the UK, the percentages make no difference to the job seeker, however, we are foriegners in Spain and as such can't expect to get any preferential treatment in the job market.

There are jobs available in every country in the world, it just depends on what you will do, and to be honest if you lived here in the UK, you'de be forced to take anything, and to be honest I have, after all I don't do charity and there's no one out there offering it. I've lived and worked in Spain one many occasions since 1969, believe me you make your own openings, don't expect anything as it won't materialise.

Michael G said:
Friday, February 5, 2010 @ 3:23 PM

A Ciriaco Boyero

Un camerero es muy importante!

Ciriaco Boyero said:
Thursday, February 4, 2010 @ 9:29 AM

These are really hard times for all, hard times for we, spanish people and for you, foreing people. And not only because of the crisis but also because of the "system". The companies only want more profits, which means less investment, wich means less staff or to employ youth and inexperienced people to pay the less. There is still a lot of companies with good profits, there is a lot of money running around out there. It would be nice that it would have a better distribution. All of we want to get the most and to pay the less... something has to change in our minds, in our society.
(I'm just a waiter)

Señora said:
Wednesday, February 3, 2010 @ 10:27 AM

Yes, the situation here is really bad . I have two degrees; one business and one technical and a huge amount of valuable work experience ranging from private entrepreneur to country manager, but still no results!

Maybe I am the target for age racisms - who knows, but my opinion is that at 47 years of age I am at my best. If only I could prove that...

And another interesting fact is that if I apply for a job opening which demands a bi-lingual person (english/ spanish) I don't even get to the shortlist, because I am trilingual (finnish/ english/ spanish). Interesting, to say the least!

It looks like after 7 years of residing here we are forced to move elsewhere, so I think that it is time to say farewell to Spain as sad as it is.

Having said all this, I still wish all the best for all applicants. After all, someone has to get those jobs;_)

Alan Mills said:
Tuesday, February 2, 2010 @ 10:31 PM

After Moving here with my wife and three children, 3 years come March I have applied (spanish CV) to construction and transport from Valencia - Alicante and beyond.
I have been in construction management for over 20 years, and hold a HGV Class 1 licence.
The only work obtained is from expats but with so many gone and going back, that's hard to find.
Unfortunately for me and others the construction and transport industry has been hard hit, and affected many other forms of employment.
I did obtain work from a spanish transport company taking 9 cars to Northern Germany and return with 9 cars of considerable value (away 6 days) for this I received 196 euros !!!!
I was lucky to obtain 9 months construction manager work in Scotland, but very difficult leaving my family here and only returning 2 days a month, but needs be.
With our savings at an end and no sight of an end to the "crisis", who knows where it's going to end up.
At the moment i can't even get work in the UK !!!

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