Looking to work in Madrid? Here are Expatica’s tips for finding a range of available jobs in Madrid, including jobs in Madrid for English speakers, expats and teaching English.
Finding jobs in Madrid has been harder since Spain was greatly affected by the economic crisis. Yet, the city of Madrid is still recognised as the major business centre of the country and, in some industries, where more jobs are available. The northern part of Madrid’s centre is where business activity is mainly situated, and the major trade fairs are held in the eastern part of Madrid.
After Catalonia (the region where Barcelona is located), Madrid is the autonomous community with the biggest foreign population, accounting for almost 15%. However, Madrid’s foreign population has declined (around 8%) as foreigners move back home, claim Spanish citizenship or find better job opportunities abroad. However, this doesn’t mean finding a job in Madrid is impossible.
This guide provides everything you need to work in Madrid, including where to find jobs in Madrid for English speakers and foreigners, in addition to the overview information and job websites provided in our guide to finding jobs in Spain.
Find a job in Madrid:
- The job market in Madrid
- Requirements to work in Madrid
- Jobs in Madrid for foreigners
- English-speaking jobs in Madrid
- Teach English in Madrid
- Where to find jobs in Madrid
- Job agencies
- Networking in Madrid
- Starting a business in Madrid
- Preparing a Spanish CV and interview tips
With the unemployment rate in Spain hovering around 19% in the first quarter of 2017, finding a job in Madrid can be harder than in other European capital cities. However, the country is historically known for its ability to attract business and today is one of the EU’s fastest growing economies.
Despite suffering a severe financial crisis for the best part of a decade, Spain and Madrid are showing signs of recovery. In some industries, there have been more available jobs in Madrid following the crisis, but this is not the norm. Proportionally, however, the unemployment situation is not as stark in Madrid, where unemployment stands at some 16%, falling almost 10% in 2015. Around 16% of unemployed workers in Madrid are foreign.
Something important to note about Madrid’s job market, however, is the higher unemployment rate seen among younger people, particularly university graduates. Youth unemployment in Spain in the first quarter of 2017 sat around 42%. Another issue is that jobs in Madrid for university graduates tend to be neither well-paying nor stable. Read more in our guide to Spanish minimum wage and average salaries in Spain.
Thanks to the protected labour laws in Spain, many companies are hesitant to hire someone new on a permanent basis because of how costly it can be. This has resulted in a situation where the majority of labour contracts end up being temporary, which reduces job security even when looking for part-time jobs in Madrid. In 2016, more than 90% of some 15.4 million contracts were temporary, with one in four being for less than seven days. In total, around one quarter of the population is on a temporary contract, higher than all EU countries except Poland. Tourism and construction in particular rely on temporary contracts. You can follow local job market updates via Madrid’s online newspaper, the ABC, as well as find jobs in the classified sections of El Mundo and El Pais.
As the country’s capital, however, Madrid represents one of the biggest economies in Spain and the GDP per capita (around €31,000) is more than 35% higher than the rest of the country. This is largely due to the services sector – accounting for almost 80% of Madrid’s GDP – with trade, public administration, ancillary services and professional, scientific and technical activities well represented.
As in other EU and EEA (European Economic Area) countries and Switzerland, citizens of member states do not need a Spanish work permit to be hired legally in Madrid. However, you must register with the tax office, called the Agencia Tributaria, and get an NIE number (foreigner’s identity number). Non-EU citizens must obtain a Spanish work visa before they can work in Madrid.
Getting a work visa in Madrid means you have to first be accepted for a job. Your employer is then responsible for arranging a work permit on your behalf. Once you have been granted work authorisation through the Dirección Provincial de Trabajo, Seguridad Social y Asuntos Sociales, you can then apply for a permit which allows you to live and work in Madrid for 12 months. You have to apply for a new visa every 12 months. Read more on how to get a work visa in Spain.
Upon arriving in Madrid, all residents have to get an NIE number (Número de Identidad Extranjero, or foreigner ID number), which you can typically get from your local police station. You will also need to register at Spanish tax office, although your employer may arrange this for you. Read more in our guides to taxes in Spain and getting an NIE number.
The process for people who want to be self-employed in Spain is a bit different, as they have to apply for a work permit themselves at the Spanish consulate or embassy in their country, and then apply for a visa. They will still need an NIE number and to register with the tax office. Read more about starting a business in Spain and taxes for self-employment in Spain.
Read more on the general requirements for getting a visa or permit in Spain.
To work in Madrid, foreigners with some Spanish language skills will have an advantage in the hiring process. The selection of jobs in Madrid is significantly smaller if you do not speak the language. There are of course English-speaking jobs in Madrid, however, you may still need basic Spanish to communicate with coworkers, clients and managers. Around 17% of new contracts signed in Spain are by foreign nationals.
Madrid also accounts for around 16% of all companies located in Spain, making it the second city with the highest number of companies, after Barcelona. Some international and multinational companies in Madrid include Accenture, Aegon, Indra, BBVA, PwC, IBM, Amadeus, Deloitte, Everis, Endesa, Mercedes Benz, Havas Media, Movistar, SinDelantal, KPMG, EY, Hewlett-Packard, Ericsson and Vodafone, to name just a few. Banks are also leading employers in Madrid, with three large multinational Spanish corporations – Telefónica, Repsol-YPF and Banco Santander – having their headquarters in Madrid.
The majority of jobs are found in the services sector, which accounts for around 85% of total employment, followed by industry with some 9% and construction employing some 6% . Some of the main representative activities in Madrid include logistics, wholesale and retail, food and beverages, finance, healthcare, marketing, accounting, legal services, IT, office and administration support and technical architectural services.
Some jobs in Madrid are aimed at native English speakers, although in lower supply. Some areas also experience shortages making it easier and quicker for companies to get work permission for foreigners, for example, the IT industry in Madrid.
If you prefer to work from home, freelance writing, editing and translating can be a good option for foreigners to find work, even before they arrive. However, to be legally work as self-employed in Madrid, you must apply to be autónomo and get the relevant Spanish self-employment visa. There is also a monthly social security fee regardless of how much you earn (or if you earn nothing); read more about taxes and social security for freelancers in Spain. An advantage of working with clients in Europe, however, is that some freelancers can claim VAT-free services between member countries. Experience is always a plus but you will also need to work on building your portfolio and client base to ensure a good living.
If you don’t speak Spanish, you can still find a good number of English-speaking jobs in Madrid to earn a basic income while you take Spanish classes and look for more fulfilling jobs.
A common path is teaching English in Spain. English-language teachers are well sought after in Madrid, and language academies and institutes tend to hire native English speakers over even highly-qualified native Spanish teachers. To boost your wage in Spain, your best bet is to get private students alongside any work you might find at a language school. Private language schools also favour hiring native speakers compared to public Spanish schools. Working in the public school system as an expat is not impossible, but you will need a teaching degree or TEFL certificate.
Another common English-speaking job in Madrid, especially for those with limited Spanish skills, is working as an au pair, nanny, or canguro (literally ‘kangaroo’), which is essentially the same as a nanny or babysitter. This can be ideal for those looking for a place to live, a bit of expendable income (but usually not much), and people to regularly practise Spanish with. You will usually also have time and money to take Spanish classes on the side. There are many parents in Madrid looking for native English-speaking canguros, to pick their kids up from school while they are still at work (sometimes up to 8pm in Spain), prepare dinner and do other household chores.
English-speaking customer service representatives are also in demand in many major European cities where English is not the official language. This usually means working at a call centre, which can work out well for a first job in Madrid until you find something better. If you work part-time, you can attend Spanish classes to improve your skills for your next job in Madrid.
As the capital of Spain, Madrid is a also popular tourist destination, meaning there are typically hotels, bars, pubs and restaurants in touristic areas that hire English speakers. Many hotel jobs in Madrid will be front desk services, so you may also need some Spanish skills. Hostels and similar places that offer tourist lodging are great to look for work as well, as sometimes you can find accommodation included. Such jobs may not offer the highest salaries, but it can be sufficient to cover rent and other necessities, while allowing you to practise your Spanish.
If you are looking for work as an English teacher, Madrid is a very promising location for finding a job. Native English speakers are in demand at Spanish language schools, although Spain is one of the few EU countries that doesn’t report shortages for qualified teachers.
As such, you will have a better chance at landing a job if you have:
- at least a bachelor degree
- some knowledge of Spanish
- credentials for teaching English, such as TEFL or CELTA, or some other teaching degree.
There are two main ways of teaching English in Madrid. One is to work privately and the second is to work at a language school. More information about job opportunities in the teaching sphere can sometimes be found in the English newspaper In Madrid (www.in-madrid.com). You can also e-mail your CV or contact language schools in Madrid directly. See our guide to language schools in Madrid or click here for listings of Madrid-based language schools. Doing an internet search will also reveal numerous organisations that advertise online teaching jobs in Spain, and some also help with the moving process, such as British Council, Go Overseas, CIEE and Spainwise to name but a few.
Qualified teachers can also consider working at schools in Spain or Spanish universities. English teachers will typically have a better chance of finding a job in Madrid at private schools in Spain. Find a list of international schools or read more about the Spanish education system.
If you are looking for a job in the Spanish capital, one of the best ways is to visit the popular Spanish job engines, such as infojobs.net and infoempleo.com. Both websites offer different listings and ways to narrow down your job search. Although most of the listings are in Spanish, listings in English can also be found. Registration on the website is only necessary if you apply for a position. You can also find jobs through community employment offices in Madrid (find your closest office here).
There is, however, no shortage of job websites in Madrid, including some of which are focused on listing jobs for foreigners and English speakers. Below are some of the main sites where you can find jobs in Madrid online (including Spanish and English-language sites):
- The Local
- Jobs In Madrid
- Madrid Xpat Jobs
- Madrid Teacher
- Simply Angelic
- Jobs Go Abroad
- Think Spain
- Glass Door
- Spain Jobs 77
If you have relevant qualifications and experience, hit the recruitment agencies to find work in Madrid. Most recruitment agencies in Madrid post jobs across multiple industries, but there are also agencies that head hunt prospective employees with specialist skills. The government offers a list of Spanish job agencies by region.
Recruitment agencies in Madrid typically invite you to their offices for a brief interview and an aptitude test. The interviews will usually be in Spanish, so if your language skills are not up to scratch enquire whether this will adversely affect your chances before wasting your time going through the registration process. Most recruitment agencies in Spain have online registration.
Below are some recruitment agencies offering jobs in Madrid:
- Talent Search People
- Nations Group
- Approach People Recruitment
- Agio – temping agency
- Trs Staffing Solutions
- Manpower Madrid
- Acalaca Seleccion
- Madrid Teacher
- Antal International
- Placement Finder
- Hays Recruiting Experts
- Job Rapido
- Michael Page International
- Egon Zehnder
- Glass Door
Another good option for finding the work in Madrid is to join professional associations and attend networking events. Many jobs are filled by word-of-mouth or through personal contacts, so networking is key to finding better jobs in Madrid.
Here are some of the most active organisations and groups that hold regular events and meetings in Madrid.
- Inter Nations
- Meet Up
- Ellevate Network
- TT Teacher Training
- Going Global
- Chamber of Commerce
If you are eager to start up your own business in Madrid, or develop your existing business further, the Chamber of Commerce in Madrid can provide useful information and advisory business services. Their website is www.camaramadrid.es (in Spanish). You can also call them if you have any questions at + 34 91 538 3500, or email them at [email protected].
When preparing a Spanish-style CV, you should apply for a job in the language in which it is advertised. Both your CV and cover letter should be in the same language. Read more on how to prepare a Spanish CV.
If you are invited to an interview, there are a few things to keep in mind: Dress smartly, especially for a corporate job, and arrive 5–10 minutes early, regardless of what you might have heard about Spaniards and tardiness. Wait for the interviewer to shake your hand and invite you to sit down.
Even if the interviewer speaks English, it will work in your favour if you speak in Spanish to show your level. You can always ask which language the interviewer prefers first. Use the formal ‘usted‘ rather than the informal ‘tú‘, unless told otherwise. Be friendly and show your personality, but speak formally and try to avoid slang or other informal language. It is also considered impolite to ask about salary in an interview setting. It is useful to learn some aspects of Spanish business culture to avoid awkward cultural situations.