InHunt World in Spain: 

After a long and devastating crisis, Spain has finally found the path to growth and the economic situation is improving rapidly. The Spanish government believes that by 2020 Spain will be in the same situation as it was before the crisis in terms of employment.

In this article, we will share with you the key insights from the current economic and political situation, as well as asking our Spanish Partner Bros Group some interesting questions and learning how they see the situation in the Spanish headhunting and recruiting market.


Ease of doing business in Spain

To get a basic picture about Spain and the opportunities it offers for foreign companies, it’s always good to take a look at the World Bank’s ease of doing business rankings. Spain is currently in 32nd place (out of 190 countries) and in 2016 it was 33rd.

When taking a closer look, Spain gets its best points in the category “trading across borders” where it’s actually number 1. Also, in resolving insolvency (nr. 18) & enforcing contracts (nr. 29) Spain is doing quite well compared to other countries. On the other hand, the lowest points Spain gets are when you have to deal with construction permits (nr. 113), starting a business (nr. 85) or getting electricity (nr. 78).


The current economic situation in Spain


In 2013 Spain got back on the path of growth and has kept itself on it despite some political challenges. In 2014 the GDP of Spain grew 1.4% and in 2015 it grew by 3.2%, being the best in the whole European Union. In 2016, Spain maintained the level and GDP growth was again 3.2%. In 2017, it also stayed on the same level, and now, the latest forecasts say that the GDP of Spain in 2018 will be around 2.8%. The “process” in Catalonia will be the major cause of this small slowdown.

Unemployment numbers have been really positive. Quarter after quarter new records have been made. In 2016 the unemployment rate went under 20% for the first time in the last six years. In 2017, it has continued to rapidly fall and when the year ended the unemployment rate was 16,5% which is the lowest number since 2008.

Housing markets have started to recover fast in communities such as Madrid, Catalonia and Andalucía. Although there are still some areas in Spain where prices still haven’t started to go up, it’s widely agreed that the bottom has now been seen. In sales March of 2017 was the best single month in last 6 years, when altogether 40,461 houses were sold. It’s the highest number of sales in one month since February 2011, when 45,107 houses were sold in Spain. In 2017, Spanish house prices went up an average of 7%, although in Madrid, there were areas where the increase was closer to 20%. However, the prices are still far away from what they were before the crisis in 2008.

The tourism sector has been also one of the recent joys during the last couple of years. 2016 was already the record year in many ways and in 2017 the pace just accelerated. Spain received 82 million tourists in 2017, a new record, surpassing the United States for the first time. Spain now ranks second in the world for number of foreign tourists received. France still holds the number one spot.

The unfortunate and unstable situation in many countries such as Turkey has benefitted Spain and many tourists have chosen Spain as their holiday destination.

Current political situation

Generally in Spain two parties have ruled the government: PSOE and Partido Popular (PP). When the global crisis hit in 2008 PSOE was in charge and didn’t do well. In 2011 the majority voted for PP and it was their time to run the government again. In the 2015 elections Spain found itself in a new situation where altogether four different parties were quite equal. This was mainly because of the rise of new parties such as Podemos (extreme left) and Ciudadanos (Center).

The consequence was that Spain did not have a new government in almost a year because they didn’t find the agreement and the new elections were held in December 2016. The result didn’t change but finally an agreement was met between Partido Popular, PSOE and Ciudadanos, and the new government was established.

What to keep an eye on

In many ways, the situation in Spain is great and companies are hiring and growing again. Investors are also back in Spain and finding great opportunities to invest. However, despite all the mostly positive signals, there are still some dark clouds that need to be observed:

Independency act of Catalonia


This has always been there, but now it’s stronger than ever. Although it will never happen while Partido Popular is in charge of the Spanish government, it’s definitely something to keep an eye on. Especially if your business is situated in Catalonia, the potential independency could have unexpected consequences and bring unnecessary difficulties.

The Catalan separatist government tried to take a definitive step in its independence agenda by calling a referendum on 1st of October in 2017. The Spanish government had stated that it’s illegal and against the country’s constitution, so it didn’t have official status. But soon after the referendum, the separatist government led by Puigdemont declared their independence, which made the Spanish government activate Article 155, allowing Spain to seize back certain powers from Catalonia. As a result, Puigdemont left the country as a fugitive and other high-ranking members of the Catalan separatist government went to jail.

New elections were held on the 22nd of December in Catalonia and the original situation remained intact. The three separatist parties won a total of 70 seats in the 135-seat regional parliament, even though the centre-right, pro-unionist Citizens party was the single biggest winner, taking 36 seats. Interestingly, just under 50% of voters still chose to cast their ballots for the parties that are seeking independence.

Currently, the situation is still open, and it seems that no one knows how or when it will end. This paragraph is from El Pais last week:

“But their insistence on appointing Carles Puigdemont, a fugitive from justice, as the next head of the Catalan government suggests a much more radical plan that is also more detrimental for Catalonia. As is clearly emerging, one of Europe’s wealthiest regions has become hostage to a visionary with no political project but a great command of the workings of the media.”


Interview with Mr. Teemu Ruuska, Director of InHunt World who has lived in Spain since 2014.

We had a chance to interview Mr. Teemu Ruuska, the director of InHunt World who has lived in Spain since 2014. We asked Teemu few questions about the headhunting and recruiting market in Spain:


How do you see the situation at the moment? Are companies recruiting again?

Companies are definitely recruiting again, but we need to remember that Spain is a big country and there are a lot of differences between the areas. For example, in Madrid and Barcelona, things have been moving already really positively during the last few years, but smaller cities are still struggling to find their way in the new business environment, which has changed a lot in the last few years.

The biggest concerns are naturally about Catalonia and the consequences. Despite that, the Spanish economy is doing well; but of course, it would do better if the crisis would be solved soon.

Are there some industries in Spain which are growing faster than others?

Everything connected to IT and digitalization is doing well and growing fast. Spain has been one of the forerunners in technology, and you can really see it everywhere. Amazon has their European headquarters in Madrid and Google has opened their campus there as well, which are clear signs of this.

Moreover, the tourism sector is growing significantly, as well as the real estate and construction sectors.


What kind of roles and talent are companies looking for?


I would say that companies are now recruiting and growing on all levels, which is good. And again, there is a huge difference depending on what city we are talking about — Madrid, Barcelona, or smaller cities, such as Malaga, where business is strongly connected to tourism.


Is there some kind of talent shortage in Spain?

Although the unemployment rate seems to be quite high still, in Spain, there are some industries or roles where the rate is already really low. Also, there has been a shortage of well-educated people for years. You can especially see this when talking to various business schools, and how active big companies are with them and their students.

I just read this interesting story that claimed that Spain would need around 3 million professionals with digital backgrounds over the next few years. Yet, those people don’t exist. It stated that only in the last three years has digitalization boosted employment by creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs in Spain, which is just the beginning.

Interestingly, the construction sector is also suffering from the shortage of educated people. Last week in El Mundo, there was an article that explained the current situation and problems. For almost ten years, projects have been stopped or done at a minimum level, and a lot of people have either left the country or found new jobs in other industries. Now that the situation has changed so rapidly, the lack of a skilled workforce has become a real problem.


Are companies looking mostly for Spanish people, or are they also interested in people from abroad?


In Spain, the Spanish language still plays a very strong and important role in work life. However, in the big cities like Madrid and Barcelona, a lot of big international companies are recruiting people with international profiles. Both cities are really active start-up hubs as well, which also tend to attract a lot of international people.


How do you see the development of recruiting and headhunting markets in Spain over the next couple of years?


I see it as being really positive that we are following the same general trends as in Europe. In the headhunting and recruitment industry, we have some really good and innovative players, such as our Spanish Partner Company: Bros Group. Honestly, I’ve been really impressed by how they use technology and also make it benefit our customers.

What I really like about Spain is that we have a lot of talented people here, and the new success stories that are being created. During the crisis, a lot of people were forced to really think and be creative. Thanks to this and digitalization, many new companies were founded. Also, the Spanish Government has tried to help and make it easier to found a company, creating incentives, lowering taxes, etc., which has helped a lot.

There are many Spanish success stories, and if I had to name one from our industry, I would pick a company called Job&Talent, which is the world’s leading job marketplace, with unique job matching technology and new staff management services.

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