THE CONS OF WORKING IN SPAIN
After reading about the pros of working in Spain, you may be wondering: are there possibly any cons of living and working in Barcelona?
Each labor market has its own peculiarities. Depending on where you come from you will find the Spanish one more or less disturbing. For us, it wasn’t painful but there were some strange surprises or astounding facts which we learned only after we started working here 😉
1. Salary is no wonder
Let’s face it, comparing with the western EU countries, generally your salary will be lower here. Unless, of course, you have some special talents of special “connections”. Anyway, I can’t say it means that the standard of living is much lower. Depends on what you expect. The rent is lower than in London, dining out as well. And it is sunny and there’s a lot of kilometers of beach and mountains if you like to hike. All this kind of make up for those few dozen or hundreds of euros more you’d earn, say, in Hamburg.
2. Crisis keeps on haunting
Although the word “crisis” is pronounced less and less, you can still hear it while talking to the Spaniards. The unemployment rate continues as one of the highest in EU and people are starting going out of Spain in search for work. It’s not Greece but it is advisable to study a bit the job possibilities within your industry before coming here. Some industries like technology and engineering are doing surprisingly well here!
3. It’s not always you to plan your holidays
They say the hottest week of the year in Barcelona is the last week of July. But it’s in August when the Spaniards go on vacation. Did you hear any rumors on what Barcelona is like in August? It is empty at least from the residents, at that time you will encounter mostly tourists here. Many small local businesses close as their owners go away for holidays. Therefore, some bigger companies figured there is no sense doing business in BCN during the first 2 weeks of August and close as well. What does it mean for you?
That your holidays had been planned even before you started your job. Besides, they don’t even mention it to you on your job interview or during sign up of the contract. You wouldn’t ask because how can you know something so evil might be happening…
On top of that, it’s not necessarily only about the holidays in August. In many cases, not always, but in many, you may have 2 weeks off in August, possibly few days during Christmas period and some for Easter. Forget about your free will. You’ll get from 3 to 10 days to administer by yourself. From my experience, which might be exclusively mine, only if you are very lucky all 22 free days you are legally entitled to will be free for you to manage.
4. Bureaucracy, taxes and over complicated system
When receiving a job offer they give you annual gross salary. So you’d ask how much is there for me? I’d like to know the monthly, net amount that will be transferred onto my bank account. They would never know that. It depends on so many factors, you’d get lost yourself. Better figure those things out, search the Internet. Are you married or single? With kids or without? Are you a resident in Spain or non-resident? The last one depends basically, (there are exceptions, of course) on the number of days spent in Spain, to be resident you need to spend at least 183 days here a year, each year. But there are some more other facts you need to know in order to make good assumptions. Better double check it for yourself.
It will all come down to your annual declaration which is due by June, 30th, the following year. Check well if you are obliged to do it and on what conditions.
5. Why rush? Do not hurry. If not today, mañana
Do you ever have this feeling you’d like to go to work, do what has to be done and go home as early as possible? Not here. We haven’t had much experience in working in Spain yet but from what we’ve seen and heard, they are, basically, in no rush.
– Second breakfast for coffee break
Meals and coffee are sacred. In many offices people come in the morning, turn on their computer and go to grab not only coffee but also something to eat. For their second breakfast. Often they go to a corner bar to get it. So, if your work depends on others, be prepared to start it after 11:00. Finally, you’ll end up having two breakfasts.
– 2-hours siesta
Recently, I’ve heard that 80% of Spanish companies do have a 2-hour siesta in the afternoon. From 2pm to 4pm. This also means that instead of going home at 6:30pm you will be leaving your work at 7:30-8:00pm. Yep, we didn’t know anything about it before coming here. The good news is that this percentage is much smaller in big cities like Barcelona or Madrid. But it won’t hurt to make sure.
Also interesting read on BBC about 2 hours siesta in Spain.
It may be that nothing of these will have anything to do with your work. Or all of it. Personally, we love living in Spain and our intention is not to scare you off. Take this article as a head’s up and just be prepared to ask as many questions as you can during your job interview. Good luck!
- The pros of working in Spain.
- Cost of living in Barcelona.
- 6 most popular websites with job offers in Spain.