El Toro Bravo: Spain’s Jobs Picture Bright as Economy Leads EU

For decades, the job market in Spain has suffered a combination of slow wage gains and soaring unemployment. But in recent years the Spanish economy has charged ahead, leading the EU in terms of economic growth — a boom fuelled by Spain’s thriving export sector to the rest of Europe. 

Along with this economic rebound comes rising job opportunities for workers. Although the nation’s unemployment rate hovers at 14.2 percent — more than twice the EU average — employers in Spain have added about the same number of jobs over the past two years as Germany, despite having a labor force half the size. 

Who is hiring today in Spain on Glassdoor? What are the most in-demand jobs? And what are they paying? In this analysis, we use a large sample of open online jobs on Glassdoor to highlight the state of hiring in Spain today, showing which cities and jobs offer bright spots for job seekers as the Spanish economy charges ahead among EU countries in 2019.

Jobs Picture in Spain in 2019

As one of the fastest-growing  job sites in the world, data from Glassdoor offers a unique real-time view of the state of online hiring in Spain. As of August 1, there were 56,006 unique online job postings in Spain on Glassdoor. As Spain’s economy has expanded, the number of open jobs is up 12.5 percent from one year ago. As shown in the figure below, hiring for jobs in Spain has maintained a steady upward trend on Glassdoor since 2016. (In the figure, the number of open jobs is indexed to January 2016 = 100). 

Note: Based on 4-week moving average of unique job postings counted each Friday on Glassdoor. Omits some recently added job sources to preserve time-series continuity of job counts. 

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (glassdoor.com/research)

Where Are the Jobs?

Hiring is much stronger in some Spanish cities than others. The figure below shows the top Spanish cities in terms of open jobs on Glassdoor, along with average base pay (in Euros) for open jobs in each city.  

The bustling metropolis of Barcelona leads the nation by a wide margin, with 14,683 open jobs on Glassdoor — roughly seven times more jobs than any other city in Spain we examined — with an average salary of €36,761 per year. The eastern city of Valencia is  next (2,037 open jobs, €34,439 per year), followed by the capital city Madrid (1,799 open jobs, €41,344 per year), the historic Andalusia-region city of Seville (1,166 open jobs, €31,007 per year), and the resort city of Malaga (1,140 open jobs, €31,675 per year). 

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (glassdoor.com/research)

Most In-Demand Jobs in Spain 

What jobs are Spanish employers hiring for today? The table below shows the 15 most in-demand roles with the most open jobs in Spain on Glassdoor. The tech role of software engineer is the most in-demand job in Spain today, with 578 job postings, paying an average of €42,605 per year. It is followed by project manager — another role common in tech as well as many other professional sectors — with 563 open jobs. Interestingly, the lower-paying role of restaurant waiter is the 3rd most in-demand job in Spain today with 543 open jobs, likely reflecting the country’s robust tourism sector. 

Overall, tech hiring is on the rise in the Spanish job market. Among the top 10 most in-demand roles on Glassdoor, four are technology jobs: Software engineer, front end developer, java developer, and back end engineer. 

Job Title Open Jobs on Glassdoor Average Base Pay
Software Engineer 578 €42,605
Project Manager 563 €35,143
Waiter 543 €29,032
Account Manager 404 €30,726
Front End Developer 329 €36,570
Sales Manager 298 €42,937
Java Developer 277 €34,662
Product Manager 271 €39,027
Chef 248 €34,339
Back End Engineer 244 €39,359
Store Manager 244 €31,121
Receptionist 241 €29,646
Administrative Assistant 240 €26,840
Maintenance Technician 226 €32,079
Sales Representative 219 €36,544

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (glassdoor.com/research)

Tech Focus: What Industries Are Hiring Tech Workers? 

While most tech jobs in Spain are in tech industries like computer software, IT, and internet, a growing number of non-tech sectors are also hiring tech roles as well. In the figure below, we show the share of tech hiring by industry for the top four in-demand tech jobs in Spain: Software engineer, front end developer, java developer, and back end engineer. 

While the largest share of hiring for these four tech roles is in the three tech sectors we track on Glassdoor (computer hardware and software, information technology, and internet & tech), non-tech employers comprise a significant share of open tech jobs, including manufacturing, consulting, media & publishing, marketing & advertising, and others. 

Interestingly, pay varies substantially for these open tech roles among sectors. While average estimated base pay is €47,461 per year for these four tech roles at media & publishing employers, average pay is a significantly lower €34,400 per year for comparable roles in the information technology sector that includes many lower-wage IT staffing roles — likely reflecting differences in the supply and demand for tech workers in different pockets of the Spanish economy.  

With many traditional industries becoming more dependent on data and software, tech hiring in Spain is reaching far beyond the tech industry. This is consistent with past research in the U.S., in which we’ve found that software jobs are also rapidly spreading into non-tech sectors such as finance, retail and manufacturing. The fact that this trend is apparent in Spain and other EU countries as well is suggestive of a broader global shift toward tech job skills. 

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (glassdoor.com/research)

Highest Paying Open Jobs in Spain

Among our sample of online jobs in Spain, the overall estimated median base pay is €33,664 per year. That’s above the OECD’s estimate of average annual wage for currently employed Spainish workers of €27,946 per year, suggesting open jobs on Glassdoor pay a premium (according to our own estimates) compared to currently filled jobs in Spain.  

The figure below shows the full distribution of base pay across the more than 56,000 open jobs in Spain on Glassdoor. The horizontal axis shows estimated base pay for the job, and the vertical axis shows the number of open jobs in each salary range, ranging from zero to €100,000 per year.  As expected, pay for most jobs in our sample hovers around the median of about €34,000, with a small number of very low- and very high-paying jobs. Open jobs paying a base pay above €60,000 per year or below €20,000 are rare in Spain.  

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (glassdoor.com/research)

What are the highest-paying open jobs in Spain today? The figure below shows the top 10 jobs in terms of average estimated base pay in our sample. Not surprisingly, nearly all of the jobs are relatively senior managerial roles, including general manager (€72,641 per year), finance manager (€58,485 per year), HR manager (€51,534 per year), and engineering manager (€50,705 per year). 

Among the 10 highest paying open jobs in Spain, only three are non-managerial roles: Solutions architect, solutions engineer, and HR business partner.  

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (glassdoor.com/research)

Which Industries in Spain Pay Highest? 

A common perception is that the tech sector — in every country — pays the highest salaries. However, that’s not the case in Spain. 

In the table below, we show the 10 industries with the highest average base pay for open jobs on Glassdoor in Spain today. The highest-paying sector is energy and utilities, which is hiring for 239 jobs with an average salary of €46,326 per year. They are followed by the biotech and pharmaceuticals industry (1,238 open jobs, €43,183 per year), telecommunications (498 open jobs, €43,102 per year), and healthcare & hospitals (343 open jobs, €42,874 per year). By contrast, the lowest-paying sector in Spain today is the marketing and advertising sector (not shown in the below table), with 872 open jobs paying an average of €29,685 per year.

Industry Average Base Pay Rank Open Jobs on Glassdoor
Energy & Utilities €46,326 1 239
Biotech & Pharmaceuticals €43,183 2 1,238
Telecommunications €43,102 3 498
Health Care & Hospitals €42,874 4 343
Computer Software & Hardware €42,413 5 2,811
Manufacturing €40,663 6 2,630
Insurance €40,638 7 407
Aerospace & Defense €38,937 8 458
Media & Publishing €38,626 9 400
Banking & Financial Services €38,589 10 608

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (glassdoor.com/research)

Seniority Matters in Job Titles

When it comes to job titles, an important fact for Spanish job seekers is that seniority levels listed in open jobs have a big impact on pay. In the figure below, we show average base pay for open jobs in Spain on Glassdoor containing varying descriptions of seniority level. 

As is clear from the figure, roles with “lead” and “senior” in the job title pay significantly above average in Spain, with estimated pay of €49,519 per year and €46,478 per year, respectively. By contrast, open jobs listing “junior” or “assistant” in the job title pay an estimated €27,305 per year, and €27,356 per year on average. When searching for jobs, Spanish job seekers should be aware of these stark differences in pay that often accompany job titles at different seniority levels. 

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (glassdoor.com/research)

Big Companies Dominate Hiring in Spain

Finally, we examined whether big or small companies are doing most of the hiring in Spain today. In the figure below, we show the number of unique job listings by size of employer (in terms of number of employees) along with average base pay for these open jobs. 

Overall, big companies on the far right of the figure below are hiring for the vast majority of open jobs in Spain on Glassdoor. Large employers with 5000+ employees boast 15,158 open jobs, by far the most of any group. Although there are roughly the same number of employers in the 5000+ employees category compared to the 50 or fewer employees group, there are more than three times as many open jobs at large employers. 

Another interesting finding is that estimated pay for open jobs in Spain clearly varies by company size. In most countries, past research shows that large employers almost always pay higher salaries than small employers. We don’t see this trend clearly in Spain. Although the highest average pay in our sample is for jobs at companies with 5000+ employees, it not much above pay for small employers with 50 or fewer employees.

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (glassdoor.com/research)


Spain’s economy today is one of the bright spots in the EU, with steady economic growth projected in 2019 and beyond. Although unemployment in Spain remains among the highest in the Euro zone, hiring on Glassdoor remains upbeat — particularly in Spain’s growing tech sector and especially in the bustling area surrounding Barcelona. The latest data from Glassdoor reveal more than 56,000 open jobs in Spain, with tech roles making up four of the top 10 most in-demand jobs today. With some open jobs paying as much as an estimated €72,641 per year, our analysis shows a bright jobs landscape facing Spanish job seekers in 2019.