Finding a job in Spain was top on my list of “must-haves” when considering a move. Although there’s nothing wrong about looking for a job once settled, I just couldn’t see myself quitting my job in London without having something else lined-up. And though I was super excited about the prospect of living in sunny Barcelona, I knew that it wouldn’t be easy to find a job there. Plus, after four years of working in the UK, I was keen to find a job within my preferred industry, but I wasn’t quite sure where to start my search. So for anyone who might be facing similar struggles, here are a few things I’ve learnt during my job search:
A bit about me
First things first, I guess it might make sense for me to tell you a bit more about my previous work experiences and skills so you can get an idea of the sort of industry and jobs I was after. In a nutshell, I have been working in Corporate PR for the past four years, mainly in international communications agencies. I am also a native French speaker. Jobwise, I was mainly looking for PR roles in companies where I wouldn’t be required to speak any Spanish since my Spanish is currently non-existent - which was an additional hurdle.
What I learnt about the job industry in Barcelona
I won’t tell you anything new when I say tourism is huge in Barcelona. However, this means that there’s a huge demand for bilingual speakers, which is a massive advantage if you happen to speak more than one language. Although, from what I could see, most jobs do require you to speak a bit of Spanish. Having said that, the good news is I found countless jobs looking for bilingual speakers within the tourism industry (mostly English or French and Spanish) for roles like tour guides, receptionists in language schools, teaching assistants etc.
If you are looking for an entry level job with no specific academic requirements, and are not fussed about what industry you want to work in, that’s definitely a great place to start looking. On the flip side, the yearly compensation is not always the best, but since I have never lived in Barcelona I am not too sure what’s enough to get by. (Note to self: write a post about average monthly costs in Barcelona).
My job search
Initially, I started looking for jobs on sites like Indeed and LinkedIn but I didn’t have much luck. One website that worked particularly well for me was Glassdoor. Although many websites give you the option to tailor your search by country, I found that Glassdoor was the only website that actually sent me relevant jobs afterwards. Once I started using Glassdoor, one thing I noticed was that most of the places that did not require you to speak Spanish were Spanish start-ups as most of them are looking to expand in English speaking countries and struggle to find fluent English speakers in Spain.
So, for anyone out there considering a move to Barcelona and like me don't speak Spanish, I would definitely recommend going through all the top Spanish start-ups and send your CVs there. The good thing about start-ups is that they offer a wealth of opportunities, so for instance you could find English speaking roles within the sales, communications, or tech department of a company without having to put your career on hold. A few start-ups also offer Spanish courses, and tend to have great perks like early finish over the summer, subsidized meals etc. - which is always a plus in my opinion.
Going back to my job search - I was pleasantly surprised to hear back from a Spanish start-up within weeks of looking. The application process was quite straight forward and all in English, although the overall process was quite lengthily. I was then able to arrange two interviews via Skype which meant I didn’t have to book time off work or spend money on multiple flight tickets. I, personally, don’t think it is necessary to arrange a face to face interview at the early stage of the interviewing process, and would recommend anyone looking for a job to push for video calls in the first instance.
Once I knew I was serious about potentially taking on the role, instead of going to Spain for just one day I decided I might as well book a week holiday and schedule the interview at the start of my trip so that no matter what the outcome of the final interview was I'd have got a holiday out of it at least. Overall the interview process took over three months, but I did end up getting the job in the end and I look forward to starting in a few weeks' time.
Now that I have got a job lined-up here are a few things I will need to do in the next couple of weeks to get the ball rolling and become a fully-fledged employee in my new company.
- Need to book an appointment to get a Spanish ID number for foreigners called NIE. (It’s compulsory)
- Need to get a Spanish Social Security number.
- Need to get a Spanish bank account
Good luck on your job search if you're looking to relocate!