in 2017


Key drivers

Wage pressure in high-skill occupations (5.0)

Faster wage growth in high-skill occupations than lower-skill ones caused Spain’s occupational wage spread to increase towards historical averages.

Wage pressure in high-skill industries (8.6)

The wage gap between high- and lower-skill industries in Spain has widened. This is driven by low or negative wage growth in most lower-skill sectors.

Labour market participation (7.1)

Positive growth in participation rates should increase the supply of skilled labour in Spain.


Education flexibility


Labour market participation


Labour market flexibility


Talent mismatch


Overall wage pressure


Wage pressure in high-skill industries


Wage pressure in high-skill occupation


Chris Dottie

Managing Director, Hays Spain

View from the Ground

Modern Spain attracts significant investment due to the talent available in the country. Geographically well located with excellent transport infrastructure and high living standards, the reduction in labour costs in recent years has improved the ranking of Spain when multinationals consider expansion or relocation. Local workers are traditionally well educated despite a lack of change agility in the public education sector, and the country attracts a wide base of international talent. Political instability has not affected economic growth, and while improvements can be made to the world of work – including a more dynamic labour market, increased incentivisation of research and development, improved single internal market, better collaboration between education centres and companies, retraining of the long-term unemployed – employment growth in Spain looks set to continue.

Chris Dottie, Managing Director, Hays Spain

COUNTRY profile

The Spanish economy has grown rapidly over the last three years, expanding at over 3% a year between 2015 and 2017.

Unemployment has fallen sharply since 2013, but at 17.2% in 2017 the rate is still among the highest in Europe. Over 43% of these people had been unemployed for more than a year. Long-term unemployment is perceived to be problematic as it erodes workers’ skills, and the time they devote to job searching typically declines. Youth unemployment is also high relative to Spain’s European peers.

The expansion of the Spanish economy has yet to have a big impact on economy-wide earnings growth. This rose by 0.2% in 2017.

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