Unemployment continues to fall and job sectors grow as Spain’s long, slow economic recovery persists.
By Mary Anne Thompson, founder and president, Goinglobal Inc.
Spain’s economy was hit hard by the global recession of 2008, and is only now finally gaining traction. The current government has implemented reforms to stimulate the economy, create new jobs and reduce public spending and the deficit. In 2014, these reforms started paying off, and Spain’s economy is now on a gradual growing trend, which is translating into a slow but steady increase in job opportunities.
According to an employer survey by Manpower, Spain’s employment outlook for the near future is positive, with 14 percent of surveyed employers, mainly small and medium enterprises, stating that they plan to hire, especially in the agricultural, restaurant and hotel, and wholesale and retail trade industries. These positive trends have also been confirmed by a recent reevaluation of the IMF, which has elevated the growth of the Spanish economy up to 2.5 percent, with a subsequent increase of 600,000 new jobs for this year.
Spain’s Unemployed and Underemployed
Spain’s current unemployment rate sits at 23.78 percent, with a projection of nearly 20 percent unemployment by 2016. Unemployment, particularly among the youth, and low job quality remain major concerns for Spaniards.
Spain’s labor market continues to show sharp segmentation between workers with permanent contracts and those with temporary contracts. Currently about 25 percent of the working population, and rising to 62 percent among workers aged 24 or younger, are on temporary contracts. This tendency has increased with the economic recession and the labor reforms of the current government.
Spain’s unemployment crisis has not affected all workers equally; three-quarters of all jobs lost in Spain over the past few years affected low-skilled workers. Professionals with higher education and qualifications have better chances of finding work and eventually flourishing in Spain.
Spain’s small and mid-sized companies are having difficulty finding adequate candidates in the areas of engineering, manufacturing and commerce. At the same time, experts in informatics and telecommunications are also among the rarest talents in Spain. At the other side of the spectrum, graphic art experts, designers, administration and finance professionals are the most abundant candidates in Spain’s job market.
Top growth job sectors in Spain
Source: European Commission 2015
Generally speaking, skilled occupations are experiencing the highest growth and demand across the European Union, especially in the service sector, with computing and business professionals, as well as health and tourism workers, among the groups with the highest anticipated job demand increase in the next years. These workers have the best chances of securing a good job.
Spain is especially in need of mechanical, industrial and production engineers, and experts in information technology and digital entertainment production are also among the top professions with best opportunities in the future.
Though it will be years before Spain returns to pre-recession prosperity, the economy is slowly but surely moving in a positive direction. Job opportunities are increasing, and unemployment is dropping. The trend is forecast to continue, and the hope is the country’s youth will stand a chance of a bright future with a good, permanent job.