Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in the world and as a place to live it has a variety that most other cities just cannot compete with.
No wonder many people thinking of working in Spain consider moving to Barcelona and finding a job.
Spain’s second largest city is actually the fourth most visited city in Europe because of the many famous tourist attractions such as the Gaudi designed Sagrada Familia, Saint Eulalia Cathedral and the Castell dels Tres Dragons.
We know Barcelona is rich in culture with many famous monuments and sites but it is also a fantastic place to live being located on the coast with wonderful beaches right in the heart of the city such as Mar Bella. For winter ski lovers you are only two hours away from ski resorts in the Pyrenees.
Few cities allow you so many options for leisure and culture. FC Barcelona are one of the most famous football teams in the world playing at the famous Nou Camp stadium – there are many possibilities for living the outdoor lifestyle and keeping fit.
Below we will give you a guide on what sort of jobs in Barcelona you can expect to find, particularly if you are an English-speaking person.
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Table Of Content
Work For English Speakers
Most of the advice on this page is aimed towards English-speaking people looking for jobs in Barcelona.
Unfortunately Barcelona will be one of the hardest places in Spain to find work if you are an English speaker. Even if you are fluent in Spanish the problem with Barcelona is that they are fiercely nationalistic and speak Catalan and not what we know as Spanish, which is actually Castilian (Castellano in Spanish).
In the sections below we concentrate on the best possibilities for finding English jobs in Barcelona. As a general rule the city is best for finding professional jobs with major international companies based in Barcelona.
Alternatively you will be looking for work such as becoming a nanny in Barcelona or an au pair in Barcelona whereby you will be living with a family and looking after their children while they work. These Spanish families will be employing you so that their children also pick up the English-language.
There are other smaller towns in Spain which have large expatriates populations in comparison to the native Spanish population. In these towns there are better possibilities for working all the year round providing services to English-speaking people such as tradesmen jobs like plumbing and electricians.
We refer to towns such as Marbella and Torremolinos on the Costa del Sol or Torrevieja and the surrounding area on the Costa Blanca.
Realistically, working and living in Barcelona and getting a job there will require some knowledge of Catalan.
Barcelona Summer Jobs
There are much better places in Spain to look for summer jobs but because Barcelona does have a thriving tourist industry there will of course be opportunities in the peak summer months to find work.
You should be aware when looking for summer jobs in Barcelona that the month of August is actually relatively quiet because many residents go on holiday to other parts of Spain. So there is actually less work than you might think but nevertheless the influx of tourists means many bars and restaurants will require extra help.
Certainly if you are a student looking for work in Barcelona we would steer you towards the more popular tourist destinations elsewhere in Spain where it is much easier to find work in bars and restaurants.
Most summer jobs will be in the tourist trade such as serving behind the bar or waiting on tables in popular restaurants located in the city centre or on the beachfront. Some opportunities exist for cooks and chefs in the kitchens.
Other seasonal opportunities to work in Barcelona would include working in the many hotels and hostels located throughout the city and naturally which experience extra demand in the summer.
Hotel jobs in Barcelona working as a receptionist are very rare and you would need to speak Catalan as well as Castilian. More likely you would get work as a waiter or waitress.
Hourly rates of pay in Barcelona are likely to be around €5 an hour for seasonal and summer jobs.
Bar Work in Barcelona
One of the most popular summer jobs in Spain is working in a bar in a tourist resort. Barcelona will also fit into this category and the good thing is that you will need only to speak limited Spanish or Catalan in order to serve drinks and give the correct change.
As usual we would still advise that you are better off looking at the international tourist resorts on the Spanish islands such as such the popular Canary Islands of Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria.
The Balearic Islands are also very popular especially Ibiza and Majorca/Mallorca.
All of these islands have busy resorts famous for their nightlife and packed with hundreds of bars catering exclusively to international tourists where you can even get a job without speaking a word of Spanish.
The best opportunity in Barcelona for work and jobs would be in one of the expat bars specifically aimed towards the foreign population. These will include popular English pubs and Irish bars.
We recommend asking for work in these Barcelona bars:
- The Queen Vic at Nou de la Rambla 24, 08001 Barcelona.
- George Payne Irish Bar – Plaza Urquinaona, 5 Barcelona.
- Flaherty’s Irish Pub – Plaça de Joaquim Xirau, 08002 Barcelona, Spain.
- The Quiet Man – C/ Marquès De Barberà 11 08001 Barcelona, Spain 934 121 219.
- The Temple Bar – Passatge Madoz 2, 08002 Barcelona, Spain, Tel: 933 179 432.
- Scobies Irish Bar – C/ Balmes 8, 08007 Barcelona, Spain, tel: 933 018 594
- George & Dragon – C/ Diputació 269, 08007 Barcelona, Spain, tel: 934 881 765
- The Shamrock – C/ Tallers 72, 08001 Barcelona, Spain, 934 124 636.
- The Philharmonic – C/ Mallorca 204, 08036 Barcelona, Spain, Tel: 934 515 043.
- Dow Jones – C/ Bruc 97, 08009 Barcelona, Spain, Tel: 934 763 831
Try also Mollys Fair City, O’Hara’s, Ryans Irish Pub Paradis, Flann O’Brien, Dublin Irish sport tavern, Hogan’s, Irish Rambler, Jules Verne, Paddy’s Lane Irish Bar, Temple Stone Bar and the Fastnet Irish Pub.
Sales and Marketing
Most of the towns we cover for getting jobs in Spain are tourist destinations, yet Barcelona offers something different in that it is headquarters to so many multinational companies.
Not many Spanish towns can compare to Barcelona for sales jobs. Major companies have vacancies in the sales and marketing departments and there are many businesses with call centres which will require English speaking people catering to the large expat population in Spain. Of course many of these positions require a degree of Spanish and Catalan.
IT & Computer Jobs
I.T. stands for information technology and there are a number of vacancies and positions for IT jobs in Barcelona predominantly working for international companies looking after their computer systems. These could include popular Barcelona employers such as American Express, Avis and Hewlett-Packard.
If you are a contractor or programmer and able to offer backend computer support you may be lucky enough to find a job in Barcelona living in one of the best cities in the world for lifestyle.
Of course one of the great things about IT jobs is that you won’t need to speak any Spanish at all.
What Work Is There in Barcelona for Expats?
Because Barcelona has the problem of the language of Catalan it means that to find work in the city requires a degree of skills and qualifications that are not readily found in the resident population.
This is definitely the city to find professional jobs such as human resources, media, admin, customer service, secretarial, legal or accounting positions. If you are an executive or at board level see our Barcelona headhunters page to find top-level managerial positions in Barcelona.
The vast range of nationalities working in Barcelona is vast and you will find many Germans, Dutch, French, Scandinavians, Americans, Canadians, Colombians, Moroccans, Romanians, Polish, Russians etc.
Some other miscellaneous types of jobs that you might just be able to find as an English speaker would be in nursing, care, hairdressing, telemarketing, telesales, photographer, personal trainer, fitness, beautician, secretarial, admin and as a journalist or writer.
ESL/TEFL Teaching Jobs
We have discussed how difficult it can be to find jobs in Barcelona for English-speaking people but when it comes to your language, the obvious use is to look at a teaching job. Barcelona has many of the biggest companies in Spain with headquarters here so there are plenty of translation jobs in Barcelona.
For ambitious Spaniards looking to increase their income opportunities being able to speak English is very important in order to progress up to executive or board level.
Barcelona is also home to many international schools with English as the first language. At these international schools in Barcelona there are teaching positions.
A professional teaching qualification for teaching English such as the internationally recognised TEFL certificate (ESL and TESOL are also recognised) will go a long way towards being able to find well paying work.
Benjamin Franklin International School – A welcoming International School with over 40 nationalities in the heart of Barcelona, Spain.
Rules and Regulations
Most casual seasonal jobs will be paid in cash without a working contract, leaving you with no entitlement to any benefits such as free medical treatment if you are suddenly taken to hospital or fall sick.
Ensure you are employed on an official contract entitling you to the Spanish social security system and its free medical care and pension system.
You will not require a visa to work in Barcelona if you are a national of an EU European country such as the United Kingdom, Germany and Ireland.
Other foreign nationals such as Americans, Australians and Canadians will be required to apply for a visa from the Spanish embassy or consulate in their own country before they can travel to Spain. This visa usually will last three months at which point you have to leave the country.
When deciding what job offers to accept try to take those that come with an official working contract which is usually for a duration of three months. An official contract entitles you to the free Spanish state healthcare system, free Spanish school system and unemployment and pension benefits.
An official job will require a tax identification number known in Spain as the N.I.E number for foreigners. This is relatively easy to obtain, just go to your nearest police station or Social Security office with your documentation such as passport or driver’s license. You will need to fill out a form and a temporary number and certificates will be issued to you.
Where to Find Work
Barcelona job websites & forums – there are plenty of Internet sites and job forums advertising the latest job vacancies. We offer this service whereby at the bottom of our page employers and job seekers can list their jobs vacancies in Barcelona.
Craigs List Barcelona – Craigs List is a global classified advertisement website which has a specific Barcelona section for jobs.
Other popular websites for finding jobs in Barcelona include Loquo Barcelona. At the time of writing we can see they have over 23,000 jobs advertised in these main categories:
- Software / Internet
- Engineering / Architecture
- Design / Creative
- Marketing / Advertising
- Customer service
- Office / HR
- Accounting / Finance
- Education / Teaching
- Hospitality / Waiters
- Hairstylist / Beautician
- Construction / Maintenance
- Part-time / Internships
Word of Mouth – Most jobs in Barcelona will not be advertised especially those of a part-time nature or summer jobs in Barcelona. Many bars or restaurants will simply put a notice in their window asking for staff. It also helps to be in Barcelona asking around and making contacts.
Barcelona newspapers – The city has a number of free magazines and newspapers in English which typically have classified job advertisement sections.
One of the best-known is the Barcelona Metropolitan magazine. This is a free monthly publication in English with a classified job section at the back.
This is a great place to find those expat jobs specifically aimed at English-speaking people. The magazine is distributed at many popular spots throughout the city or you can go direct to their website.
If you can speak some Spanish or Catalan then the daily newspapers are definitely worth looking at because they all have classified job sections.
Our main employment page also has some good job sources which would equally apply to Barcelona such as recruitment agencies or employment agencies.
Empresas de Trabajo Temporal (ETT) are recruitment agencies in Spain – mostly professional and admin work on temporary contracts.
Wikipedia Barcelona – Open source travel guide to Barcelona featuring up-to-date information on sights, history, climate, facts and figures, travel tips and more.
Ajuntament Barcelona – The official Barcelona website created by the City Council, is a channel of communication with all topics of visiting and living in Barcelona covered.
Below is a You Tube video showing the very best sights in Barcelona and why it would make a fantastic place to live and work.
We receive hundreds of e-mails from people wanting to work in Barcelona. In reality it is one of the hardest places in Spain to find a job despite it being the second largest city.
The problem stems from the fact that Barcelona speaks the language of Catalan which is spoken by very few people outside the region of Catalonia.
It makes finding work and jobs extremely difficult for foreigners and in particular English-speaking people.
You’ll find much more success in finding work in Spain on the many holiday islands in Spain or Costa del Sol which is full of expatriates and is more international.
Below are some of the main sections and frequently asked questions about finding work in jobs in Barcelona.
- Is the cost of living in Barcelona high?
- Are there jobs in Barcelona for English speakers?
- Jobs in Barcelona for Americans
- Where can I find jobs in Barcelona
- Popular Types of Work and Job Vacancies
- Summer Jobs in Barcelona 2013
- Part-Time Work in Barcelona
Staff Required? Employers – please list your jobs in Barcelona below – IT IS FREE!!
Please leave your details below in the comments box if you WANT TO WORK IN BARCELONA!!
Most Popular Places in Spain To Find Work:
Most Popular Work:
- Bar Jobs in Spain
- Holiday Representatives
- Jobs in Hotel
- Summer Jobs & Work
- Teach English to Spanish
Helpful Pages if Moving to Spain:
We also have our main Help Finding a Job in Spain Section.