Finding jobs in Madrid has been harder since Spain was greatly affected by the economic crisis. Yet, the city of Madrid is still recognised as the major business centre of the country and, in some industries, where more jobs are available. The northern part of Madrid's centre is where business activity is mainly situated, and the major trade fairs are held in the eastern part of Madrid.
After Catalonia (the region where Barcelona is located), Madrid is the autonomous community with the biggest foreign population, accounting for almost 15 percent. However, Madrid's foreign population has declined (around 8 percent) as foreigners move back home, claim Spanish citizenship or find better job opportunities abroad. However, this doesn't mean finding a job in Madrid is impossible.
This guide provides everything you need to work in Madrid, including where to find jobs in Madrid for English speakers and foreigners, in addition to the overview information and job websites provided in our guide to finding jobs in Spain.
Find a job in Madrid:
The job market in Madrid
Requirements to work in Madrid
Jobs in Madrid for foreigners
English-speaking jobs in Madrid
Teach English in Madrid
Where to find jobs in Madrid
Networking in Madrid
Starting a business in Madrid
Preparing a Spanish CV and interview tips
The job market in Madrid
With the unemployment rate in Spain hovering around 19 percent in the first quarter of 2017, finding a job in Madrid can be harder than in other European capital cities. However, the country is historically known for its ability to attract business and today is one of the EU's fastest growing economies.
Despite suffering a severe financial crisis for the best part of a decade, Spain and Madrid are showing signs of recovery. In some industries, there have been more available jobs in Madrid following the crisis, but this is not the norm. Proportionally, however, the unemployment situation is not as stark in Madrid, where unemployment stands at some 16 percent, falling almost 10 percent in 2015. Around 16 percent of unemployed workers in Madrid are foreign.
Something important to note about Madrid’s job market, however, is the higher unemployment rate seen among younger people, particularly university graduates. Youth unemployment in Spain in the first quarter of 2017 sat around 42 percent. Another issue is that jobs in Madrid for university graduates tend to be neither well-paying nor stable. Read more in our guide to Spanish minimum wage and average salaries in Spain.
Thanks to the protected labour laws in Spain, many companies are hesitant to hire someone new on a permanent basis because of how costly it can be. This has resulted in a sitatuion where the majority of labour contracts end up being temporary, which reduces job security even when looking for part-time jobs in Madrid. In 2016, more than 90 percent of some 15.4 million contracts were temporary, with one in four being for less than seven days. In total, around one quarter of the population is on a temporary contract, higher than all EU countries except Poland. Tourism and construction in particular rely on temporary contracts. You can follow local job market updates via Madrid's online newspaper, the ABC, as well as find jobs in the classified sections of El Mundo and El Pais.
As the country's capital, however, Madrid represents one of the biggest economies in Spain and the GDP per capita (around EUR 31,000) is more than 35 precent higher than the rest of the country. This is largely due to the services sector – accounting for almost 80 percent of Madrid's GDP – with trade, public administration, ancillary services and professional, scientific and technical activities well represented.
Requirements to work in Madrid
As in other EU and EEA (European Economic Area) countries and Switzerland, citizens of member states do not need a Spanish work permit to be hired legally in Madrid. However, you must register with the tax office, called the Agencia Tributaria, and get an NIE number (foreigner's identity number). Non-EU citizens must obtain a Spanish work visa before they can work in Madrid.
Getting a work visa in Madrid means you have to first be accepted for a job. Your employer is then responsible for arranging a work permit on your behalf. Once you have been granted work authorisation through the Dirección Provincial de Trabajo, Seguridad Social y Asuntos Sociales, you can then apply for a permit which allows you to live and work in Madrid for 12 months. You have to apply for a new visa every 12 months. Read more on how to get a work visa in Spain.
Upon arriving in Madrid, all residents have to get an NIE number (Número de Identidad Extranjero, or foreigner ID number), which you can typically get from your local police station. You will also need to register at Spanish tax office, although your employer may arrange this for you. Read more in our guides to taxes in Spain and getting an NIE number.
The process for people who want to be self-employed in Spain is a bit different, as they have to apply for a work permit themselves at the Spanish consulate or embassy in their country, and then apply for a visa. They will still need an NIE number and to register with the tax office. Read more about starting a business in Spain and taxes for self-employment in Spain.
Expat jobs in Madrid
To work in Madrid, foreigners with some Spanish language skills will have an advantage in the hiring process. The selection of jobs in Madrid is significantly smaller if you do not speak the language. There are of course English-speaking jobs in Madrid, however, you may still need basic Spanish to communicate with coworkers, clients and managers. Around 17 percent of new contracts signed in Spain are by foreign nationals.
Madrid also accounts for around 16 percent of all companies located in Spain, making it the second city with the highest number of companies, after Barcelona. Some international and multinational companies in Madrid include Accenture, Aegon, Indra, BBVA, PwC, IBM, Amadeus, Deloitte, Everis, Endesa, Mercedes Benz, Havas Media, Movistar, SinDelantal, KPMG, EY, Hewlett-Packard, Ericsson and Vodafone, to name just a few. Banks are also leading employers in Madrid, with three large multinational Spanish corporations – Telefónica, Repsol-YPF and Banco Santander – having their headquarters in Madrid.
The majority of jobs are found in the services sector, which accounts for around 85 percent of total employment, followed by industry with some 9 percent and construction employing some 6 percent. Some of the main representative activities in Madrid include logistics, wholesale and retail, food and beverages, finance, healthcare, marketing, accounting, legal services, IT, office and administration support and technical architectural services.
Some jobs in Madrid are aimed at native English speakers, although in lower supply. Some areas also experience shortages making it easier and quicker for companies to get work permission for foreigners, for example, the IT industry in Madrid.
If you prefer to work from home, freelance writing, editing and translating can be a good option for foreigners to find work, even before they arrive. However, to be legally work as self-employed in Madrid, you must apply to be autónomo and get the relevant Spanish self-employment visa. There is also a monthly social security fee regardless of how much you earn (or if you earn nothing); read more about taxes and social security for freelancers in Spain. An advantage of working with clients in Europe, however, is that some freelancers can claim VAT-free services between member countries. Experience is always a plus but you will also need to work on building your portfolio and client base to ensure a good living.
Jobs in Madrid for English speakers
If you don’t speak Spanish, you can still find a good number of English-speaking jobs in Madrid to earn a basic income while you take Spanish classes and look for more fulfilling jobs.
A common path is teaching English in Spain. English-language teachers are well sought after in Madrid, and language academies and institutes tend to hire native English speakers over even highly-qualified native Spanish teachers. To boost your wage in Spain, your best bet is to get private students alongside any work you might find at a language school. Private language schools also favour hiring native speakers compared to public Spanish schools. Working in the public school system as an expat is not impossible, but you will need a teaching degree or TEFL certificate.
Another common English-speaking job in Madrid, especially for those with limited Spanish skills, is working as an au pair, nanny, or canguro (literally 'kangaroo'), which is essentially the same as a nanny or babysitter. This can be ideal for those looking for a place to live, a bit of expendable income (but usually not much), and people to regularly practise Spanish with. You will usually also have time and money to take Spanish classes on the side. There are many parents in Madrid looking for native English-speaking canguros, to pick their kids up from school while they are still at work (sometimes up to 8pm in Spain), prepare dinner and do other household chores.
English-speaking customer service representatives are also in demand in many major European cities where English is not the official language. This usually means working at a call centre, which can work out well for a first job in Madrid until you find something better. If you work part-time, you can attend Spanish classes to improve your skills for your next job in Madrid.
As the capital of Spain Madrid is a also popular tourist destination, meaning there are typically hotels, bars, pubs and restaurants in touristic areas that hire English speakers. Many hotel jobs in Madrid will be front desk services, so you may also need some Spanish skills. Hostels and similar places that offer tourist lodging are great to look for work as well, as sometimes you can find accommodation included. Such jobs may not offer the highest salaries, but it can be sufficient to cover rent and other necessities, while allowing you to practise your Spanish.
Teach English in Madrid
If you are looking for work as an English teacher, Madrid is a very promising location for finding a job. Native English speakers are in demand at Spanish language schools, although Spain is one of the few EU countries that doesn't report shortages for qualified teachers.
As such, you will have a better chance at landing a job if you have:
at least a bachelor degree
some knowledge of Spanish
credentials for teaching English, such as TEFL or CELTA, or some other teaching degree.
There are two main ways of teaching English in Madrid. One is to work privately and the second is to work at a language school. More information about job opportunities in the teaching sphere can sometimes be found in the English newspaper In Madrid (www.in-madrid.com). You can also e-mail your CV or contact language schools in Madrid directly. See our guide to language schools in Madrid or click here for listings of Madrid-based language schools. Doing an internet search will also reveal numerous organisations that advertise online teaching jobs in Spain, and some also help with the moving process, such as British Council.