Working in Barcelona



In Barcelona, things are looking good for job-hunting expatriates, especially the young professionals.

General Outlook 

The city has established itself as Europe's yuppie capital, with about seven million people from around the world joining the job market in 2007 alone. The addition of the more modern industries such as IT, energy and biomedicine, communications and media is expected to create up to 150,000 jobs. However, with the high unemployment rate in the city, job seekers need to work the extra mile to make a cut amidst the tough competition. 

Work Visa and Other Requirements 

Citizens of EU member countries may work in Barcelona with neither a permit nor a visa; otherwise, one will need both to secure legal employment. Another requirement is that the local company must prove that no EU candidates have qualified. The requirements are different for each of the primary work visa types issued by Spain, including Type B, which is limited to employment in a certain company within a determined geographical area, Type A for seasonal jobs such as plant construction and equipment installation, Type T which holds for short-term service contracts, and Type D for those who want to open a business in the city or anywhere in Spain. 

Business Etiquette

Business in Barcelona requires punctuality and observance of a formal dress code for both men and women. Spaniards carry two family names but only the first one should be mentioned, along with any academic or professional title, when addressing a colleague or a job interviewer. Being invited to homes is rare, but invitations to dinner and drinks at a restaurant are common among business associates. The main business language is Spanish, but English may be used and is an advantage in multinational companies. 

Working Conditions 

Although working hours may differ from company to company, Spaniards typically go to work Monday through Fridays from 9-9:30am to 1:30-3pm and come back after lunch and a siesta by 4:30-5pm. Horario intensivo, a unique work schedule that is gaining popularity these days, shortens midday breaks and has employees working straight from 8:30-9am through 3pm so they can leave early. Expatriates also enjoy Spain's generous policies on holidays and vacations which allow them to go on a full month off from work yearly, usually in August, and on the many national and regional holidays. 


For 2010, Spain's minimum wage has increased by 1.5% to 633 Euros from 624 in 2009. The daily wage is set at 21.11 Euros per day or 633.30 per month. Casual and temporary workers not working more than four months will be receiving no less than 30 Euros per day. The annual average salary of tenured employees is 21,500 Euros, a figure higher than what is offered in Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria. 

When applying for a job in Barcelona, it is important for an expatriate to create an outstanding resume in order to make a mark in the city's highly competitive job market. While there are many existing companies and more coming investments, searching for a vacancy can take longer than usual. But as long as one has the required education and experience, there is great chance of finding worthwhile employment in this sunny northeastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula.



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