Standing in line at the airport departure gate, ready to board the aircraft home to old Blighty, many people have thought, “if only I could stay here; somehow get a job and make a new life”.
The Mediterranean lifestyle is certainly seductive. For example, many of us holiday each year in Spain and full in love with the climate, the food, the friendly people and the international, cosmopolitan atmosphere. Since Spain and the UK are both members of the European Union, living and working in Spain is feasible, without the need for a British National to apply for a work permit.
However, sometimes the apparent ease at which we can decide not to board the plane home and instead stay in Spain and start a new life can lead to real problems. The Costa’s are full of stories of people that have stayed on after a holiday with the hope of somehow making it and returning home without finding a job. This is where the smart people do their homework. One needs to prepare for relocation and talk to experts.
Working in Spain can be extremely rewarding both in terms of a new, healthy lifestyle, but also on terms of a career. Yet to achieve the relocation and employment success that many others already have in Spain, one needs to get some real, solid advice.
At the recent Fresh Start Exhibition in London, we met up with Jon Branston, Managing Director of Exposure, an established Anglo-Spanish recruitment consultancy. Jon is a seasoned professional at relocating Brits to Spain or Gibraltar.
In his view, Spain’s employers are changing the way they approach recruitment;
“..over the years, employment in Spain has been very much a closed shop. Most jobs were offered to members of extended families, or friends, or friends of friends; reflecting the Mediterranean social and family culture. Yet now, with Spain’s economy growing fast and with ever increasing competition from other businesses, Spanish employers realise that recruitment needs to be more sophisticated.
To remain competitive they need to attract the best candidates and they now look much further a field, to the quality personnel based within Spain and across the EU as a whole”
It’s true that Spain’s economy is becoming increasingly more vibrant and diverse. Although unemployment is still significantly higher than in the UK, when one looks at urban areas or other developed parts of the country such as the coasts, one can see that the employment market is becoming more like that of Northern Europe.
Yet getting access to that market can be tricky. Jon Branston again;
“In the past, the local classified media has long been the preferred method of advertising for roles within Spain so if you wanted a job you had to be able to read the local paper! Not so helpful if you happen to live over a 1000 miles away. Also, local ads are not a great way to fill professional roles and do not guarantee the right results. In addition, of course, employers find it extremely time consuming to review the entire candidate CV’s.”
This state of affairs has highlighted a gap in the market for professional employment facilitators, for consultants to maximise the success for both candidates looking for jobs and employers looking for skilled personnel.
That’s the background to www.exposure-eu.com, Jon Branston’s new Career Network. It’s an online recruitment solution that enables candidates living in other EU countries like the UK to gain genuine access to real, exciting jobs in Spain and Gibraltar.
So, before logging on, you ought to review what skills you have to offer and see how these match what employers in Spain looking for.
According to Jon Branston, first and foremost, if you speak fluent Spanish and English you will not have a problem finding a new career in Spain. These skills are extremely attractive to all employers and it will put you onto any recruiter’s or employer’s shortlist. English is the international language of business and to a large extent the international language of tourism in Spain. Combine that with the ability to communicate locally, on the ground in Spain and you have a winning combination. Of course, in Gibraltar you have the charm of the Mediterranean lifestyle, twinned with the familiar working language of English. Gibraltar continues to do well, reinventing itself as the economy evolves. Now, recent undergone massive growth over the last 18 months has mainly been due to the emergence of the on-line gaming industry.
The service sector has grown enormously in Spain, serving the ever growing number of ex-pats and long-term visitors living in Spain. Therefore Sales, Marketing, IT, Accounting, and Law are all skills which are in high demand, as these sectors are expanding to meet the needs of customers in Spain.
What cultural differences should you expect, when working in Spain? We all know about the great climate, the healthy food and the social lifestyle, but it can’t all be that easy can it?
Jon Branston recommends that candidates be willing to be flexible.
“In addition, I think one works longer hours in Spain too. Although the working day starts later at about 9.30am and one gets a 2 – 3 hours break in the early afternoon, the working day then continues until 8.30pm or later sometimes. For many this is an advantage – the siesta is a great time to socialise or spend time with the family and after work the days are still warm and light for much of the year, making for a more relaxed environment when one can unwind more easily – but the day can seem longer”.
When you are short-listed for a role by a company or recruiter such as Exposure, you must be prepared to make you own way to Spain for an interview. This shows a level of commitment to the employer that you are serious about moving to and working in Spain.
Relocating is a serious thing and you really want to research it as much as possible. Sites such as www.exposure-eu.com have useful information that help you learn the ins-and-outs, such as how to get a Spanish NIE national fiscal number, necessary to work long term in the country.
So, next time you’re standing in line at the airport gate and thinking you wish you could stay; maybe you should just stop dreaming and start surfing the web, doing your research and finding that job that will change you life.