Barcelona is established as a truly international city. I have lived here for over a year and am still amazed by the number of people from all over the world constantly coming in and out of the city. It can also make it a transitory place to be - students come here for one year to study, travellers come here to settle for a period before moving on, and immigrants come here to give the city a shot as their new home.
All of this can make finding a part-time or temporary job quite difficult in such a small place. It is with this in mind that you should go about looking for work in Barcelona. Not with a sense of failure before you have begun, but with a determination and tirelessness that will ensure that you aren't defeated by the search. And remember, searching for a job can, in itself, be a good way to get to know Barcelona. You will need to get out and meet people and become familiar with the city to find work - which can be a really fun experience.
I have put together a list of the most important things to take into consideration whilst looking for work in Barcelona.
If you are planning to spend some time in Barcelona and are looking for work before you arrive, you have the employment options that require a bit more forward planning. If you know that you will be coming to Barcelona to look for work, it is worth doing some research before you arrive. This will open up options such as applications for TEFL or working as an Au Pair (see below).
If you have already arrived in Barcelona and are looking for work, this will require more practical action. It is worth walking around Barcelona's barrios (Neighbourhoods) and looking in shop windows for job advertisements, asking in bars and shops and speaking to friends. Remember, Barcelona is a city that thrives on who you know - use any connections that you make on arriving in the city as potential ways into employment.
If you have some knowledge of Castellano this will be useful when looking for work in Barcelona. If you have knowledge of Catalan, even better! This will help you to get work in service roles such as bar, hostel and restaurant work.
If you cannot yet speak any Spanish it is best to look for a job where your mother tongue is a benefit. This may be teaching the language with TEFL or privately or working for a telesales company (see below). Alternatively, some particularly tourist Bars and restaurants may take on native English speakers if they do not speak Spanish since their main clients will be English-speaking. An, e.g. maybe the Irish Bars.
- If you are from a country that is a member of the E.U. you will need your NIE number to begin to look for work in Barcelona (see below for how to obtain this).
- If you find work on a temporary basis, officially, your employer will be required to take 24% of your earnings in tax. This is something that you may be able to reclaim if you file for taxes on returning to your home country. It is best to speak to your tax authorities to confirm what paperwork is required to make a reclaim before you leave to Barcelona.
Workers from Outside the European Union
- Even if you only plan to work in Barcelona on a temporary basis, you will need a work visa to work in Barcelona.
- Before you come to Barcelona you will need to gain a visa from the Spanish Embassy in your home country.
- On arrival in Barcelona you will need to apply for a work permit from the Foreigners' Office.
Paseo San Juan, 189
08037 Barcelona, España.
Tel: +34 93 520 9523
Metro: Joanic (Yellow Line, L4)
A lot of work in Barcelona can be found by asking around - speak to people who you know and look for notices in shops and bars. However, it is also worth checking online and in papers.
Magazines and Papers:
Metropolitan (English language magazine)
La Vanguardia Newspaper (on Sundays)
- TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)
|Speakeasy Language School|
This is a course that can be taken either intensively or over a longer period, and the qualification enables you to teach English as a second language. You can either do the course in your home country or once you have arrived in Barcelona.
Teaching a foreign language is one of the most reliable, safe and lucrative ways to earn money on a temporary basis in Barcelona. It is possible to find a job either before your arrival or when you get to the city. Work can be found in various different language schools in the city.
- Au Pair
Working as an Au Pair in Barcelona is also a safe and reliable option. Some Au Pair applications require at least one month's notice, so this is something best considered in advance of your visit. Working as an Au Pair will allow you to live with a Spanish family, which will help with integrating and learning Spanish. However, there may be certain requirements on your time, such as curfews, so you may not have the same freedom that you would with other jobs.
Website: Au Pair International
- Baby sitter/Nanny
Baby sitting or nannying may be a more informal way in which to earn some money. If you wish to increase your earnings, you could possibly suggest helping the children with their language by communicating with them in your mother tongue and tutoring them to an extent.
- Teaching Languages Privately
If you have not taken the TEFL course (see above) that does not completely rule out teaching your first language in Barcelona. Many people in the city are looking to learn languages such as English and are willing to pay a private tutor - usually on a one-to-one basis. This will require some initiative as it will be necessary to drum up your own workplace adverts in shops, libraries or cafés and advertise your services on websites.
If you do not feel confident in teaching a language and grammar then simply advertise your services on a 'conversational' basis. Also, make the most of your qualifications - if you have a law degree or a degree in architecture etc. you can potentially target specific groups and ask for more money.
It is important to remember to be careful when working in this way. Meet your students in a public place such as a bar or café.
Many people who are new to Barcelona and cannot yet speak Castellano apply to work in international companies in their telesales departments. This will provide you with steady work until your Castellano has improved.
It is worth noting that you will be working with teams of people who will be speaking your native language, which will not help if you are hoping to improve your Castellano or Catalan.
Check: Avis Car Rental
- Bar Work In Barcelona
Many people, including myself, arrive in Barcelona imaging that it has an endless supply of bar jobs on offer. Unfortunately, that is not the case - there are a lot of bars in the city, but also a lot of people who want to work in them. If you wish to get a bar job, it is important that you get out and visit the bars and meet people face-to-face. Prepare a C.V. relating to your experience in these sorts of jobs (they will not care if you won the 'Scientist of the Year Award' at school!) and hand them out to as many bars as possible. Also, make friends with people - bars are much more likely to offer work to somebody who they already know.
If you do manage to get a bar job, it will be an effective way to improve your Spanish language skills and make friends. However, be warned, pay for bar work is generally relatively low.
- Flyering Work
Flyering Work is an option if you need to earn some money immediately. There is a seemingly never-ending supply of work for bars and clubs handing out their promotional materials. To get this work you will need to go directly to the bar or club - English and Irish bars are often looking for workers.
The work is normally commission based - you will put your initials on the back of the flyer and will be paid depending on how many people hand in their flyer on arrival at the bar or club.
It is important to remember that you may be working in the street late at night for this job. If possible, ask if you can work for a friend or choose a spot where you feel safe and in good company. It is important that you do not allow anybody to ask you to go somewhere you do not want to be.
Register as a Resident in Barcelona
|Barceloneta Police Station (NIE Application Centre)|
-When looking for work in Barcelona you are likely to be asked for your NIE number. This is a Barcelona resident's number.
- It can be acquired from the police station at Paseo Juan de Borbó 32 in Barceloneta.
- The station is open daily, get down there early if you wish to avoid the queues.
- Bring with you: a photocopy of your passport, a pen, and the form filled in (get it from the NIE application form from the Ministry of Interior
- You will be required to pay a the fee for processing the application.
Police station at Paseo Juan de Borbó 32 opening hours: 09:00 - 21:00
Finding a temporary job in Barcelona can prove difficult yet rewarding. Do as much forward planning as you can before you come - improve your language skills and think about what types of jobs appeal to you. On arrival in the city, be outgoing and resourceful - there are potential opportunities for work from the moment you arrive. Perhaps the hostel that you're staying in is looking for a new night receptionist or the café where you enjoy your morning coffees are on the look-out for a friendly new waitress. The jobs are here just be positive, put your best foot forward and smile. It can be a fun and fulfilling experience paying your way with a part-time job in one of Europe's most exciting and vibrant cities. Good Luck!