In this blog series we are going to interview all our Partners and learn how the pandemic is affecting different countries around the globe.
Today we’re going to learn how the pandemic has affected Spain. We are talking with Mr. Teemu Ruuska (CEO of InHunt World) who has been living in Madrid since 2014.
First of all, how are you? We hope that you and your family have stayed healthy during this pandemic.
Yes, we have stayed healthy, and we are very grateful for that. Our son is six years old, and our daughter got born this May, and everything has gone amazingly well.
How’s Spain at the moment or how has it been the last 6 – 7 months?
Obviously, the spring was challenging for many with the complete lockdowns and restrictions. But after that things have gotten better and the summer was really nice, and people started to believe in a better future again. Over the past couple of months, COVID numbers have been on the rise again. Still, it seems that Spain is ahead of the rest of Europe with this second wave, and here the peak has already passed when other countries have started to see a rise in the numbers again, unfortunately.
Also, it seems that this second wave has nothing to do with the spring and the situation in hospitals, etc. is a lot better. Also, there’s so much more information available now compared to six months ago. Doctors know how to treat the patients when needed and many more people are getting better even if the infection is strong.
I think governments and people have lost the big picture and don’t really know how to handle the information. Many seem to be still shocked that every day there are people dying for COVID but forgetting that it’s completely normal that over 1000 people pass away in Spain every day. To be exact, last year 1144 people passed away per day on average, (due to cancers, heart attacks, road accidents, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, flu….), and this seem to be just fine and part of life. In 2017 – 2018, 15.000 people died in Spain due to regular flu, and I remember reading maybe one article about that.
And what about business and the general atmosphere? How the companies are holding up, have there been a lot of layoffs?
Here, the leftist government is doing the best they can to destroy companies and jobs by playing their political game. The last great example is the “state of alarm” in Madrid that has nothing to do with the real situation and was based on some manipulated facts and information. The problem is that Madrid Community is ruled by Partido Popular (conservative center-right party) that doesn’t get along with the current government that is run by PSOE and Podemos.
Compared to any country in the EU, Spain’s economy has suffered the most, and also Spain’s government has gotten pretty much the worst points when it comes to how they’ve handled the COVID situation in general.
So yes, there have been many layoffs and a lot more are about to come because lots of companies have been forced not to fire their employees and, in few months, this will change, and millions will lose their jobs in Spain. When that happens, it will be remembered forever in Spain. Also, Spain’s economy is strongly supported by the Tourism sector, and everybody knows how much people are traveling at the moment.
How do you see the end of 2020? And what about 2021?
I don’t personally see any quick solution, and I assume that Q1 of 2021 still be a bad one. After that, Spain and the whole world start recovering, which is mainly connected to the massive vaccination programs rolled out at the beginning of 2021. Or at least that is the hope.
What do you think about the future? What is going to be the biggest difference in Spain if you compare the situation before the pandemic and the possible situation after?
Working remotely is definitely one of them. Before the pandemic in over 90% of the Spanish companies as an employee you didn’t have the option to work remotely. Needless to even say that it has changed completely. And will it stay like it; I would say yes because the productivity has gone up as well as job satisfaction. There’s also much less traffic (and pollution) and those who still need to go to the office every day, are able to do it in a much more convenient way.
There is also a huge movement, and people are getting away from the big cities. For example, in Madrid, people are moving to the other cities that are located just 15 to 30km from Madrid Capital. We live, for example, in Madrid Community in the city called Majadahonda, which is around 15km from Madrid downtown and offers a lot more space, green areas, has amazing services, quality of life, and is well connected to the Madrid downtown. Here especially rent prices have been increasing lately because the demand is huge when the wealthy people from Madrid Capital are escaping and looking for more space around them.
Honestly, with these new trends and changes in the business world, for many, there are a few reasons anymore why to live in the very center of large cities.
What kind of roles do you think companies are going to need the most after the pandemic? Do you think there’s some big difference before and after COVID regarding recruitment and headhunting?
I would say digital sales and marketing roles will be in high demand now and after the pandemic. At the end of the day, sales and marketing are the engines of every company. Also, every role will be more than ever to connected to the digital world. Unfortunately, those people who have problems learning new tools and software fast and don’t understand the logic of this new digital business world are going to have a huge problem finding new opportunities.
And for this reason, I always encourage people to use a platform like LinkedIn learning to learn new things every single day. Lifelong learning is not a trend anymore but obligatory for every single one of us.
Regarding recruitment and headhunting, the apparent difference will be that much more talent is available, but at the same time, the best ones are always taken very quickly. More processes will be conducted remotely, and sitting physically down with the client or candidate is not needed in most cases when everyone is so adapted to this new digital working style.
What tips would you have for foreign job seekers who would like to come and work in Spain?
If possible, I would say hold on a bit and don’t come now. I believe that in autumn 2021, things are back again, and then it’s the time to come.
Big cities like Madrid and Barcelona are always the ones that will start recovering first, and both have huge startup ecosystems in place that offers opportunities also for international talents.
And the same thing for companies that are looking to expand to other markets. Wait a bit and then come. This country has so many opportunities that are many times overlooked, especially by the companies located in the Nordic countries. In Madrid Community alone, 6,6 million people live here. That’s about one million people more than in the entire country where I come from.
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