From Barcelona: Part-time work scarce in the city

From Barcelona: Part-time work scarce in the city

Comments2 comments

Finding a legal part-time job in the Catalan capital, Barcelona, can be so tough that many are forced into the black market, observes blogger Jeremy Holland.

Finding a legal part-time work in Barcelona is probably harder than landing a full-time gig. Part of this has to do with the current economic environment, but mostly it's because the concept of flexible part-time jobs based on hourly wages doesn't really exist here.

Sure, companies offer part-time contracts, but they're usually for twenty-five hours a week, the choice of afternoon or evening shifts being your only option. You will be expected to work these set hours regardless of work load and sometimes more because there's no time sheet to monitor when you arrive and leave, and thus no overtime.

To avoid paying summer vacation, employers will often only offer these contracts for periods of less than a year, say from September to June, so you'll be responsible for saving money from your EUR 500-600 monthly pay check for a summer or  winter vacation.

One of the problems I've had working on contracts, whether part-time or full-time, is that employers will often fiddle with the tax percentage, especially if you're hired during the year. This is often done without your knowledge and during the year it seems you're earning more, until April rolls around and you get a bill from the hacienda (tax department) saying you owe EUR XXX.

Switching jobs or going from part- to full-time or vice-versa will almost surely see you pay. It's almost enough to make a person decide never to file taxes ever again.

Where to look for short-term part-time jobs

If you're only planning on staying  for a short period of time, part-time contracts offer the chance of a steady income that will leave you free in the mornings or evenings. Most of the part-time jobs require Spanish and is concentrated in the sales field. If you don't have knowledge of the language, there are call centres and English schools that offer part-time work. The best place to find out if a place is hiring is through the Metropolitan Magazine available in many English pubs or on Loquo.

Becoming autónomo

Becoming autónomo is also an option because it allows you to earn a decent hourly wage. But going through the process and paying the taxes really isn't worth it if you don't plan on staying for the long term.

Some work illegally

What are your options if you just want to earn enough to pay for your Barcelona adventure? Personally, I think the best option is to go black. I read somewhere that the underground economy constitutes a fifth of the Spanish GDP and there's a reason; it's the only way to make a decent living for many people.

Vast and covering almost every service sector, if you're fresh to the city and don't speak the language, there's the option of passing out fliers for one of the hundreds of bars competing for customers. I'm not sure how payment works, but people seem to get by and if often leads to other under the table promotional bar work. Some restaurants might take you on and pay cash during peak months, as will smaller English schools but if all depends on how legal they are. If you like working with your hands, there is always boat work at the marina.

But in all honesty, I still think your best option for working part-time is to discover your inner entrepreneur and do your own thing.

Jeremy Holland / Expatica

Written by an American expat, From Barcelona, is a blog dedicated to the city, the life and the people of the capital of Catalunya (Catalonia).

Expatica Ask the Expert

For jobs in Barcelona, see Expatica jobs.

Comment here on the article, or if you have a suggestion to improve this article, please click here.

If you believe any of the information on this page is incorrect or out-of-date, please let us know. Expatica makes every effort to ensure its articles are as comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date as possible, but we're also grateful for any help! (If you want to contact Expatica for any other reason, please follow the instructions on this website's contact page.)

Captcha Note: Characters are case sensitive
The details you provide on this page will not be used to send any unsolicited e-mail, and will not be sold to a third party. Privacy policy .

2 Comments To This Article

  • monalia posted:

    on 13th June 2011, 15:08:18 - Reply

    Good to see you're still writing about the city. But what about your blog? No updates since last year,

    Good stuff - your fellow Barcelona blogger,

  • Dvora posted:

    on 13th June 2011, 12:33:45 - Reply

    I worked for a while teaching English and being paid under the table about ten years ago. But I think I was lucky to find the job (their teacher had just up and left and they were stuck). Mostly the schools want you to have legal residence that allows you to work (which I didn't at the time). I also tried the entrepreneur thing. It was a great personal success but a financial failure.
    (a blog about an American expat in Spain)