Working in Spain, Being Autonomo
Posted by The Expatriator
Information about jobs, the employment situation, and working in Spain.
If you’re looking for information about how and where to find jobs, go directly to our jobs in Spain page. Otherwise the following information is about working in Spain or optionally working as an Autonomo in Spain.
The unemployment rate has gone down considerably in recent years. That’s about it for the good news. If you’re not quite fluent in Spanish and if you’re not an EU citizen, then you have two big strikes against you when looking for work in Spain. Even if you just want to work in an English school, if you don’t have a visa good for a year you’ll find it very tough finding anyone willing to give you dependable work. Depending on where you’re from, you may find the jobs’ pay scales surprisingly low (and in a large company, you may find management frustrating, and you may find the “walking invisibles” demoralizing—those people who are holding out for a bigger payoff to leave).
It can be even more difficult to find a job while you’re still in your home country unless you’re a specialist in your field. If you have the opportunity, visit Spain, find a job and accommodations, then return home to process the visa. Getting your working and living situation set up like this before hand can’t be recommended more highly.
Check out the Social Security Office for information on health benefits, disabilities, and pension plans. Also find International agreements and treaties regarding workers rights there.
See the Instituto Nacional de Empleo (INEM) for information about workers benefits and types of contracts. You can find their site on our Links to Spanish Government Sites page.
You may also want to consider self-employment, whether that’s legally or not (it might not be worth getting it legally setup for a summer or if you’re not making that much money, although there are always consequences…). If you do decide to work legally self-employed, you’ll be called an autonomo, in which case you’ll be paying all your own taxes and social security payments. In some fields, this can be an advantageous way to find employment, for example if you’re teaching English.