Working in Barcelona

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Service industry company buildings in Barcelona
Although the economic picture is bleaker than it used to be, working in Barcelona places expat employees in what has traditionally been an economically powerful European city. 
 
One of the first European centres to industrialise, trade and industry have long been a part of the Catalan capital’s make up. Manufacturing continues to play a major role in the economy of Barcelona, even though it has been overtaken by the service sector.
 

Job market in Barcelona


Automobile manufacturing has been a major industry for decades and is still significant, while fashion and tourism are two of the city’s largest service industries. Additionally, banking is a major sector, and the city’s logistics industry is also large, given its situation as a port city. 
 
Barcelona has also become a centre for high-tech industry, with the greatest concentration of businesses found at the Parc Tecnològic del Vallès (Science Park of El Vallès) to the northeast of the wider metropolis. 
 
Unfortunately, the economic crisis in Spain resulted in high unemployment and a weakened economic environment. It is generally said that it is easier to find work in Madrid than Barcelona, and this is especially true in the wake of the crisis. 
 
While there have been signs of recovery, salaries in Barcelona still tend to be relatively low, despite the rising cost of living. It is expected to take quite some time before the city’s economy returns to pre-crisis levels, if it ever does.
 
One possible exception is the tourism industry. Tourism occupies a large portion of the city's economy, but it has also traditionally employed many expats. While local residents have suffered under a weakened economy, the city has attracted record numbers of tourists in recent times.
 
Work in this sector tends to be seasonal, however. So, while it is an easy way to start working in Barcelona, it is most lucrative in the summer months. 
 

Finding work in Barcelona


Expats with experience and qualifications in the city’s leading business sectors are more likely to find a job that is able to sustain them, although this is no guarantee. Those who are looking for work in Barcelona should try their best to find a position prior to their arrival, but those who do arrive without a contract are sometimes able to fall back on jobs such as teaching English or working in one of the city’s many call centres.
 
Being able to speak Spanish or Catalan will give expat applicants an extra advantage since, while the city is accustomed to English-speaking tourists, these are the primary languages in which business takes place. Expats who are able to speak a third language such as German will be at even more of an advantage, since there is a fairly large foreign investment presence in the country.
 
When it comes to job hunting in Barcelona though, it is often said that what someone knows is less important than who they know. The best resources for finding a job in Barcelona, for those without the necessary contacts, are through local English language media as well as online job portals. 

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