Employment: Working in Spain Without Speaking Spanish

If you want to live and work in Spain, but you don’t speak Spanish yet, then you’ll no doubt have been told about the possibility of teaching English in the country. Language teaching is the most popular profession for non-native speakers but, if it doesn’t appeal to you, you’ll be pleased to know it isn’t the only option.

Whilst you sign up for some language classes yourself, and hone those Spanish speaking skills, here are some other jobs that you can secure in Spain without being able to speak Spanish:

The Current Employment Situation in Spain

Spain has a relatively high unemployment rate: in fact, the current unemployment rate in the country is 16%, which is one of the highest rates of unemployment in the EU. Youth unemployment is particularly problematic for the country, and that means that, when advertised, many jobs can have a high level of competition. For this reason, you should look for roles where a native level of English language proficiency as required, as this will give you a competitive edge over many Spaniards who are also job hunting.

If You're Interested in Teaching

If you’re interested in teaching then you’re in luck: this is one of the easiest and most popular employment options for Britons living in Spain. If you already have a recognised teaching qualification then you can look for work in your current field or specialism in one of Spain’s many international schools. The rate of pay and working conditions for these positions will be similar to those you can expect in the UK.

If you’re not already a qualified teacher then you could gain a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) short course qualification and apply for an English teaching position instead. These tend to be part time positions, and the pay level is not as generous as if you were a qualified teacher, but it is a great way to secure regular employment as a non-native speaker in Spain.

Working in Customer Service

If you’re hoping to relocate to one of Spain’s larger cities, such as Madrid or Barcelona, then you may find that there are customer service positions available for native English speakers at one of the country’s large international companies. You will be charged with communicating with customers all over the world however, in order to have a competitive edge, you are more likely to secure this role if you can speak another European language as well: French, German and Dutch are the most popular options. Being fluent in a language that other Spanish speakers may not be fluent in will help you to stand out from the crowd in this arena.

Share Your Passion for Spain as a Tour Guide

If you’re passionate about Spain and know a lot about its rich culture and history then a career as a tour guide could be the right choice for you. Due to the pandemic, these jobs might be hard to find right now, but in normal circumstances more visitors arrive in Spain from the UK than from any other country. This means that in popular tourist cities, English-speaking tour guides are in high demand. Conduct your research fully though, because whilst tour guides don’t usually need to speak Spanish, they do need an expert-level of knowledge about Spanish history, culture, and architecture.

Explore Sales and Finance

Sales and finance are both huge industries in Spain, particularly if you’re living in a city such as Barcelona, Madrid or Malaga. In many of these roles you will need to speak both English and Spanish, but you can find some purely English-speaking roles if you focus your job search on international companies: in many of these, Spanish speaking isn’t a requirement. Amazon, Netflix and LinkedIn are all based in Spain and often have English-speaking roles available. Secure on of these roles and then you can add to your skillset by expanding into dual-language roles as your Spanish language skills develop.

Work as an Au Pair

If you have a passion for working with children but can’t secure, or don’t want to, work in a school then there is an abundance of nanny or au pair positions available in Spain. Many of these roles are for native English speakers, as Spanish families are using their au pair as an opportunity for their children to learn and improve their own English skills. Nannying and au pair roles tend to involve taking and collecting the children from school, and then watching them until their parents return from work. Whilst the pay in these roles isn’t exceptional, they are great starter jobs when you first move to Spain, and they also provide an opportunity for you to improve your own language skills too.

Immersing Yourself in the English-Speaking Community

Another alternative is to immerse yourself in the English-speaking communities in Spain in regions that have high numbers of English-speaking residents and a large ex pat community, such as the Costa del Sol. You’re more likely to find English-speaking roles in these communities than anywhere else: from hairdressing to working in estate agent offices, you’ll find an abundance of English-speaking roles here.

Work Remotely

If you still can’t find an English-speaking role in Spain that suits your interests of your skillset then why not consider going freelance or working remotely in your current position. This will mean that you don’t have to rely on the Spanish job market, that you can secure work from any country, and that you are less likely to face extreme competition for the roles that you’re interested in. This may well also offer more working flexibility and the opportunity to seek out better paying positions too. If you do decide to go down this route though, you should explore the tax implications, and consult with a specialist tax lawyer to ensure that you don’t fall foul of any Spanish tax laws.

Are you thinking of living and working in Spain? Whether you’re hoping to buy or rent a property in Spain, our local property experts are perfectly placed to help you find the home of your dreams. Get in touch today to find out more about how we can help you.



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