Earning a Living in Barcelona: Short-Term Jobs for Foreigners

Before painting you a picture of the sunlit city that eats savoury and parties hard, we must make one fact perfectly clear – finding a temporary job in Barcelona is not easy. That being said, we can continue on by claiming that the Catalan capital is definitely worth it. If you’ve been dreaming of making a decent living in a city that cherishes diversity, inspires creativity and provokes passion, then we can only encourage you to take a leap of faith and put those dreams into action. For those fervent, consistent and diligent enough, getting a job in Barcelona is not entirely impossible. Here are some guidelines for you to consider.

A Tip Before You Go

Due to its amiable nature, the capital of Catalonia has established itself as one of the favourite destinations for remote jobbers some time ago, and few of them have left since. However numerous the non-native workers are, they are still preceded by a vast majority of those who make a living in Barcelona for only a certain time. Taken together, the number of those lucky few who have already accomplished themselves in the city’ saturated market seem uncountable.

Unfortunately, a fierce competition is not the only obstacle on your way to becoming an earning Barcelona citizen. For the past couple of years, rates of both state economy and employment are pretty low, without any significant indication of improving any time soon. If courageous enough to start a business of your own, and you’ve already thought of the idea that’s both innovative and lucrative, the local market will probably be interested in what you have to offer. Still, in a country that’s currently been struggling with a lack of available jobs for all of its inhabitants, hiring a foreigner instead of a native seems highly unlikely. Beside all that, if you’re not particularly fluent in Spanish or Catalan, your working options are even more limited.

Available Jobs

Available Jobs in Barcelona

However, all this still doesn’t mean that finding a temporary job in Barcelona remains a dream. For those armed with persistence, the City of Gaudi offers a number of available jobs.

1. Teaching English

Like elsewhere when huge metropolises are concerned, English teachers are always in demand in Barcelona. If looking for an employment in a school, having a TEFL degree is required, but even if you don’t have one (as a course that can be taken almost anywhere and completed in a short period of time, we certainly advise you to consider it) teaching English as a private tutor is still a viable option.

While the first will, in the large number of cases, make you a registered employee, the second will require you to apply for a status of a freelancer. (The community of autónomos, as independent workers are called in Spain, is regulated by the state and treated according to their status.) Both options allow you to apply for the job or find a client before you arrive in Barcelona, or once you finally get there.

Even though getting a job in a school has questionless benefits of its own, teaching English as a freelancer is an option that is much more likely to grant you actual work. Apart from being more in demand, a job of a private language tutor permits you a certain freedom as well – if not keen on teaching grammar, for instance, you can define your services on a “conversation basis” and if you have a degree in law, architecture or some of the other high-demand fields, you can target your clientele according to that and ask for more money for teaching a sociolect.

2. Au Pair

If familiar with Au Pair International, you probably already know how this job, in lack of better words, functions in practise. Most host families that set the terms of the application requirements will demand a month’s notice, at least, which means you’ll be having to apply for an Au Pair some time before traveling to Barcelona.

Additional requests may include guest restrictions and curfews as well. On the upside, spending your time as a member of an authentic Catalan family is a great way of experiencing the city as locals do, of emerging into the culture and making valuable contacts with other influential and hardworking member of the Barcelona society. In the city that’s been struggling with unemployment for some time, these contacts may open plenty of shut doors.

3. Baby Sitter

Similar to an Au Pair jobs that usually include taking care of younger members of the host family, babysitting is another informal way of making a decent living in the capital of Catalonia. Just like with Au Pair jobs, you’ll probably have to make arrangements in advance and meet up with a family for a definite assessment. However, this job allows you an opportunity of offering additional services, which is where your TEFL degree may come in handy. If hired as a nanny, giving language lessons to a child you’re been paid to take care of can earn you some extra money on the side.

4. International Companies

International Work in Barcelona

International companies based in Barcelona or those with an office in the Catalan capital are almost always in search of new English-speaking employees, but finding a job in one of them without much credentials and practice can be quite difficult. Some of their departments, however, like telemarketing for instance, may be a good chance for a steady work. The same applies to big firms’ call centres and customer support services – if running on an international level, bigger business usually hire and train agents who are fluent in English to handle their foreign language speaking clients.

5. Restaurant and Bar Jobs

Ever since Catalan cuisine was introduced to the world gastronomy scene, the streets of Barcelona have been flooded with fast food eateries, taparies and fancy restaurants alike. Even most bars in the city serve some kinds of tapa, which is why finding a cooking job around here is very probable, especially with a culinary degree. However, this is another line of work that may require some knowledge of Catalan, and with the largest number of Barcelona restaurants being focused on authentic local food exclusively, speaking no other language but English is somewhat of a drawback.

Bar jobs, on the other hand, are mostly more versatile when it comes to non-native speakers. Hosting a lot of foreign visitors, the bars in the touristy districts of the city usually don’t mind if your Catalan is still on a beginner level, as far as it satisfies the basic requirements for communicating with locals. If a bar job seems like a good option to you, know that you will most possibly have to go to a number of different venues, speak to owners face-to-face and have a C.V. with recommendations and a list of previous jobs to prove your experience in the field – tourist bars are often hectic and there’s little time for trial periods and learning on the go.
If you’ve already arrived and are having a tough time finding a job, don’t despair. Instead of making your plans for catching a ride home, go out and mingle. Barcelona is a huge metropolis, as well as a melting pot, which is why making as many contacts as you can here will drastically improve your chances for both short-term and long-term employment.

Jelena Cekic
Jelena Cekic
[email protected]

Jelena Cekic is a creative writer and blogger at MyCity Web with a Master’s degree in Serbian Language and Literature from the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad. She is passionate about topics like lifestyle, art, child development, travel and gastronomy. Her latest writing attempts include works of fiction. Apart from being a movie aficionado, Jelena enjoys magic realism, black tea, red currant berries, cats, and declares herself as a Whovian.

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