Welcome to our page on finding jobs and work on the lovely Canary Island of Gran Canaria (Islas Canarias) which is part of Spain.
On this page you will find current listings of any available job vacancies in Gran Canaria as well as practical tips and advice on where to find Gran Canaria jobs in the year 2016.
Get looking now if you want to find a summer job on the island because they go very fast and well in advance of the season.
Near the bottom of the page you will find an account from Matthew Hirtes who lives on the island of Gran Canaria, who gives a specific tips on what types of work you can expect to find.
Specific latest job listings in Gran Canaria can be found near the bottom of the page.
We also cover other Canary Islands close to Gran Canaria, these include Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, La Graciosa, Alegranza, Isla de Lobos, Montaña Clara, Roque del Este and Roque del Oeste.
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Below is a video guide to Gran Canaria, Spain
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WORK AND JOB VACANCIES IN GRAN CANARIA
The island of Gran Canaria belongs to Spain and centrally located in the Canary islands. It happens to be one of the most popular destinations in Europe for short breaks and holidays where people just want to get some sunshine.
Some of the reasons Gran Canaria is so popular is because being Spanish, people know it is reliable and relatively safe yet it’s location is only about 130 miles away from Africa so the climate is much warmer than mainland Spain.
Tourists come from all over Europe but in particular from the United Kingdom (UK) and Germany (where Gran Canaria is known as Kanaren or Kanarischen).
Gran Canaria is a smaller island compared to it’s neighbouring Canary islands of Tenerife and Fuerteventura. There is much to see although typically most of this will revolve around the beach so it isn’t the best island if you want to see lots of historic sights.
Gran Canaria is known as ‘the miniature continent’ because you can find plenty of variety such as lakes, mountains, beaches and even a pine forest.
The weather is generally warm and sunny with clear blue, cloudless skies.
When looking for work on this island naturally you are best heading to the south of the island where many of the major tourist resorts located.
The best known holiday resorts include San Agustin, Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas.
The south of the island is the place to go for the best beaches and is relatively dry and barren.
Most tourists will simply stay by their hotel pool or go to the beach each day but the island itself has a wonderfully varied terrain including the large central mountains as well as tropical forests in the north of the island.
Average monthly temperatures range from 18°C in January to 25°C in August. This all-year-round climate has the advantage of making Gran Canaria almost as popular in the winter as it is in the summertime. This really helps when you are looking to jobs because most Spanish tourist resorts only offer seasonal jobs for the summer only.
If you are looking for the best beaches head for the resort of Maspalomas and if you are looking for lively nightlife then you need to head for Playa del Ingles.
The capital of Gran Canaria is Las Palmas which would also be a good place to look for work. This historic city dates back to the 15th century and has a population of over 400,000 people.
Most of the Spanish jobs advice on this page is aimed towards jobs in Gran Canaria for English-speaking people. This is because many of our readers are English, British, Germans or Americans who have a limited ability to speak Spanish and therefore are looking for English-speaking jobs in Gran Canaria.
Popular towns and resorts to look for Gran Canaria jobs include: Amadores, Bahia Feliz, Las Palmas jobs, Maspalomas jobs, Meloneras, Playa Del Ingles jobs, Playa Taurito, Puerto Mogan, Puerto Rico, San Agustin, Arguineguín and Mogán.
BAR JOBS IN GRAN CANARIA
Bar work on Gran Canaria is the easiest type of work to find as there is a real need for bartenders and barmaids especially in the peak summer months. There are quite a few resorts but the most popular places to find bar jobs would be Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas.
Without doubt if you are looking for a job in Gran Canaria or Gran Canaria jobs, then bar work and bar jobs are the most common type of job available and probably the easiest type of summer job to get.
Working in a bar, pub or nightclub doesn’t take much skill if you are serving drinks and most importantly you will not need to know much Spanish, so if you are an English speaking worker, this is the type of job you should look for if you want a seasonal job on Gran Canaria.
On Gran Canaria you can get work as a bartender, bar maid, glass collector, dancer, PR, promotion, DJ and security jobs such as bouncers or door supervisors.
These bar jobs are typically very low paid however they have the benefits of free drinks and working in a party environment where everybody is out for a good time so they are a lot of fun.
A PR job on Gran Canaria involves promotion such as standing outside a bar or club and handing out flyers or vouchers to encourage people to come into the bar or club instead of just walking past. It takes a great deal of confidence get the rewards can be quite good because as well as a basic salary you get paid good commission and often receive free drinks.
If bar work is not your thing consider catering work such as working in a restaurant as a cook, chef, waiter, waitress or dishwasher.
HOTEL JOBS IN GRAN CANARIA
If you have a good grasp of Spanish and you speak English you have a good chance of finding a job in one of the many hotels on the island. Typical hotel jobs include work as cleaners, receptionists, singers, comedians , entertainers, animators, bar work and restaurant work.
Most hotel jobs will require you to be able to speak fluent Spanish. As well as Spanish and English it would be a great advantage to be able to speak a third language such as German especially if you want to work on reception.
WORK FOR YOUNG PEOPLE – SUMMER JOBS
Gran Canaria being a popular tourist destination has many job openings and vacancies in the catering trades such as cook, waiter, dishwasher, bar tender, cleaner, animators, dancers etc.
Many people come to Gran Canaria for the summer season looking for seasonal bar jobs in Gran Canaria and you will usually get a summer job in Gran Canaria fairly easily as long as you head for the mass tourist resorts of San Agustin, Puerto Rico, Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas.
These jobs are great for students. Typical jobs you could look for include PR jobs for clubs, holiday rep jobs in Gran Canaria and DJ jobs in Gran Canaria. If you are a dancer you stand a good chance of finding a job in one of the top clubs.
A limited knowledge of the Spanish language is ideal but not compulsory, making these kind of jobs fiercely competitive between all nationalities across the board.
Very popular on the job scale in this field are cleaning jobs in Gran Canaria as they are well paid, in abundance and all year round as people’s homes as well as villa companies require cleaners.
Work in the tourist industry is mainly done in shifts or split shifts. On the positive side you can spend your time off at the beaches of Gran Canaria but this type of work is really no good if you have a young family to support as the hours are long.
Make sure you budget to have enough savings to survive while you are searching for work. You will probably need to rent a small apartment which will usually start at €400 for a studio or one bed.
Property rental prices range from 400 euros (600 US dollars) for a small studio apartment to about 800 euros (1200 US dollars) for a larger one with several bedrooms.
There is also certainly an opportunity for driving jobs on Gran Canaria. These typically will involve providing a taxi service to and from the airport (known as airport runs).
Also there are some companies providing shuttle bus services around the island as well as a need for transfer reps and coach and bus drivers to take holidaymakers around the island on excursions.
WHERE TO FIND GRAN CANARIA JOBS
For job adverts try the classified section in local newspapers such as English language newspaper, The Canary News.
Most jobs in Gran Canaria, especially the casual summer tourist type jobs would almost certainly be found by word-of-mouth.
Very rarely will these positions be advertised and you should come to the island and go from bar to bar asking if they need any help.
There are also radio stations, websites, job forums and recruitment agencies.
Try getting a job with an official contract which will entitle you to the Spanish state pension, a limited unemployment benefit and of course the Spanish national health service.
Just like anywhere else there are vacancies for lawyer, doctor, teacher, nurse, policemen, pharmacist and shop assistants etc.
Working hours in Gran Canaria are likely to be much longer than in northern Europe because of the traditional Spanish siesta.
It does very much depend on what job you take on, but a typical working day would be to starting at 10 in the morning with a break between one and four and then working through until seven or eight in the evening.
HOLIDAY REP JOBS
The intelligent way to find work and jobs in Gran Canaria is to apply for a job as a holiday rep in resorts such as Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles. These rep jobs will be organised in advance of your arrival in the resort.
Working as a Spanish holiday rep in Gran Canaria is not as easy as it sounds. Problems can occur day and night with the guests that you are employed to look after and all sorts of emergencies can occur from medical emergencies to guests being robbed and losing their passport and possessions.
You would earn a good basic wage for being a holiday rep as well as being able to earn extra money if you are successful at selling excursions and trips to your customers. This should be relatively easy because Gran Canaria is a lovely scenic island with lots to see. Another major benefit is that you would be provided with accommodation and food included.
STARTING A BUSINESS IN GRAN CANARIA
Although this page is all about finding work on the island of Gran Canaria, it is worth mentioning that there are good possibilities to starting your own business by going self-employed. This especially applies if you have a tradesman skill such as being a builder, electrician, plumber, painter or some other construction type skill that you can offer as a service.
You will have to make a social security contributions which are quite substantial in Spain. For everything that you charge you will need to contribute 18% back to the Spanish government in the form of IVA which is the equivalent to VAT in the United Kingdom.
It can be very expensive to start your own business but you are more likely to make more being self-employed than you would being employed in a job and there are many English speaking expatriates who will welcome services in English.
TYPES OF WORK FOR ENGLISH-SPEAKERS
We have covered the tourist industry extensively which is obviously the main source of work and jobs in Gran Canaria. The next biggest sector for employment would be the real estate or property market.
The massive building boom in new construction of houses being sold to many people from all over northern Europe has slowed down enormously but this sector still employs many people. Although people may not be buying houses there is still a thriving tourist market which involves providing accommodation through the lettings market.
There are sales jobs going in estate agencies (inmobiliaria) and letting agencies who deal in villa and apartment rentals. There are also indirect jobs such as looking after and maintaining these properties involving gardeners, handymen and pool cleaners.
There are also many other unusual jobs that typically involve providing services to English speaking people on the island. We know that people have performed these jobs: cleaning swimming pools, gardening, villa cleaning, hairdressing jobs, shop and retail work, removals, fitness jobs, personal trainer, beautician, vets, childcare jobs such as working as an au pair, nanny or babysitter, computer repair, graphic design, insurance sales, telemarketing, telesales, engineer, customer service, hospitality, journalists, marketing, legal jobs, media jobs, office jobs, secretarial, admin, financial, carers, nursing, I.T. jobs.
Try obtaining a recognised teaching qualification before arriving in Gran Canaria – Teaching TEFL or ESL are popular and recognised throughout the world.
Gran Canary does have good possibilities for teaching English to Spanish islanders as discussed by Matthew Hirtes below.
My Experience of Moving to Gran Canaria and Looking for Work
By Matthew Hirtes
Saturday the 22nd of February 2004 rocked our world. In the worst possible way. For that was the day our second son Alex, at just eight months, was diagnosed with leukaemia.
Following a half-year residency in Great Ormond Street Hospital, we took the decision to relocate to Gran Canaria for the extra family support. My mother-in-law, one sister-in-law and five brothers-in-law live on the island.
Despite this, my first year on the island was spent as a house husband.
Alex had to go for regular check-ups at the Materno (children’s hospital) in Las Palmas and he wasn’t allowed to attend nursery with other children.
But the beach was fine, so we were able to work on our tans. Thanks to his native Canarian mother Cristina, Alex acquired a browner hue than his father’s lobster-red.
When Alex was given the all-clear to start nursery, my days as a beach bum ended. I now had to look for work.
In England I’d worked in journalism but my must-do-better Spanish and relatively low pay forced a career change.
After a disastrous stint in a private school, I landed a position as a teaching assistant in a state primary in Bañaderos.
Unfortunately, that project lost funding due to the cuts last year, so all of us native English-speaking assistants found ourselves out of a job.
In the meantime, Cristina and I had opened our own language academy, Play School which teaches English to children aged from three to 12 through the medium of craft, games, songs and stories, along with the odd worksheet.
For those who live in the north of the island like we do, teaching offers the best employment opportunities.
Private bi-lingual schools will want to hire you for your ability to speak your mother tongue rather than any teaching experience.
I also know fellow expats who make a good living by giving private classes to the children of Las Palmas’ wealthier residents.
If you live in the south, the service industry beckons.
In the summer, it’s easy to pick up casual work at the English and Irish bars in and around Playa del Inglés.
However, bear in mind that in winter the profile of tourist changes with more Northern European and Scandinavian visitors. Here demand for English-speaking bar staff becomes rather thinner on the ground.
The alternative is to start up your own business. From medical clinics to schools to restaurants, the opportunities are there for any wannabe entrepreneurs.
If you settle in the less touristy north, though, acquiring at the very least a basic grasp of Spanish is essential.
To keep abreast of the latest expat developments on the island, check out Gran Canaria Noticeboard on Facebook.
If you’re after something rather less cyber, The British Club in Las Palmas’ Calle León y Castillo will allow you to meet up with fellow native English speakers face to face.
The Canary News is the only English-language newspaper based on Gran Canaria and editor Edward Timon guarantees a read that’s as informative as it’s entertaining.
…. Matthew Hirtes
Going Local in Gran Canaria: How to Turn a Holiday Destination into a Home, my latest book is now out. Hoorah!
If you are an employer who is searching for staff, please contact us with any job vacancies you wish to fill in Gran Canaria and we will list them for free.
Most Popular Places for Spanish Jobs:
- Barcelona Jobs
- Benidorm Jobs
- Ibiza Jobs
- Lanzarote Jobs
- Majorca Jobs
- Magaluf Jobs
- Marbella Jobs
- Tenerife Jobs
Other Types of Jobs:
- Working in a Bar
- Cooking Jobs
- Tradesmen Jobs
- Holiday Rep Jobs
- Hospitality Jobs in Spain
- Seasonal Jobs in Spain
- Teach English in Spain
Helpful Pages if Moving to Spain:
For a full index of pages see our main work in Spain page.