August 24, 2016 No Comments

Summer Jobs In Spain – The Facts

Many young people from countries such as the UK, Germany and Holland are interested in working the summer in Spain, but not sure how to go about it. However, since Spain joined the EU, it couldn’t be simpler. Anyone from an EU country can work in Spain, or other EU member countries without a problem, and the process is quite straightforward.

Best Choices of Location

The best places for British people to look for summer jobs in Spain are of course the coastal resorts, in particular those most popular with British tourists. These include:

Benidorm, Costa Blanca: perhaps the best known of British holiday resorts; Benidorm caters especially for British tourists. In fact many hotels serve mostly British food, even roasts on Sundays! Here you will find numerous British pubs and restaurants, that all require English speaking staff and most prefer native Brits, so there is a good chance of finding summer work in Benidorm. Benidorm is one of the few places in Spain that enjoys year-round tourism, thanks to the excellent climate in this region.

Torremolinos, Costa del Sol: While not so Brit-oriented as Benidorm; Torremolinos has its fair share of British style pubs and restaurants. This resort caters to British and Dutch tourists, so there is always a demand for summer workers from these countries.

Fuengirola, Costa del Sol: Here again is a town that caters mostly to British tourists; in fact it has English food supermarkets as well as many pubs, clubs and restaurants. There is a large expat community here, but there are still enough jobs for the summer worker too.

Lloret de Mar, Costa Brava: Once a thriving all-British resort, and the first in Spain; Lloret de Mar no longer is dominated by British tourism, but gets visitors from all over Europe. Still, there are several British locales that require staff for the summer as well as clubs and restaurants. However, with Lloret being a town that caters to many nationalities, employers often prefer to take Dutch or German workers over Brits, as they tend to speak at least two languages.

Calella, Costa del Maresme: Calella is in the province of Barcelona and has many British locales, although the summer season is quite short. A good choice for those looking for short-term employment who want to be near Barcelona.

There are many other towns in Spain where work can be found for Brits, but these mentioned above are the most popular on the mainland. More popular choices include Salou, Sitges, Denia, Torrevieja, Benalmadena and Marbella. And of course you also have the Balearics and Canaries, which have many Brit-oriented resorts. If you speak Spanish, you will have even more chance of obtaining work anywhere in Spain, and often better-paid positions too.

The ideal plan is to book a two week full-board holiday in one of the cheaper hotels, while you look for a job and somewhere to stay. Lining up some interviews before you leave home by applying to jobs advertised online is also a wise move – while it is unlikely a company will hire you without actually interviewing you, it is possible you may be able to interview online and be lucky enough to secure a position before you even travel.

Holiday Rep jobs are a very popular option

With Friends, or Alone?

When working abroad, people seem to become much friendlier and outgoing than at home, so if you travel alone you are likely to meet up with like-minded people within no time and easily begin making new friends in your chosen resort. However, if you can get a couple of friends to travel with you, you will probably enjoy the experience more, and it makes renting an apartment much more economical if there are a few of you.

Just make sure everyone in the party has some money to tide them over for a while – you don’t want to be payng for friends who do not bring sufficient savings, as this will quickly eat into your own resources, and you may find yourself on a plane back to the UK as your money runs out before you get a start in a job.

Type of Work

Most Brits visiting Spain for work will go for bar and night club jobs; to work evenings and have the days free for the beach. Bars and night clubs also hire people to do PR, or propaganda, although in many towns this is now illegal (as it is seen as a nuisance to tourists) except in the doorway of the business. However there are other positions available that can be just as much fun.

Waiting tables in a restaurant is a good way to go, and wages are supplemented with tips. The norm here is around 10% tip on a bill, whereas in bars you will only receive odd coins, if anything. There are various jobs on the beach too; selling tickets for water sports, or even working on the water; helping customers on and off the boats, etc. If you have a boat pilot’s license, this puts you in a great position for work, or perhaps you are a skilled water skier and can work teaching others to ski.

Shops and ice cream stands are also happy to have English speaking staff, and if you have languages you will have a wider choice of jobs.

Teaching English is often the first job native speakers think of when deciding what type of work to look for in Spain, but if you are looking for a summer job, this is not the best option. This is because most openings for English teaching jobs are found in the larger cities, which see a mass exodus during the summer as the Spanish also flock to the beach resorts for a vacation, which usually lasts at least four weeks.

What to Expect and What Will be Expected of You

You can expect to be quite well treated in Spain as a worker; long gone are the days of employers taking advantage of foreign workers and working them for months with promises of pay that never appears. You can expect to work long hours and possibly without designated breaks, but as the work is fun and you are meeting new people in a holiday atmosphere, this is not something staff usually complain about.

Within the EU, everyone is expected to be contracted and to pay tax and insurance, just as at home. You will probably find the pay quite low compared to what you would earn in the UK, but the cost of living is also lower. If you work in a bar or restaurant, you will probably be given at least one free meal and permitted a certain number of drinks a night. To keep rental costs down, workers often team up to share an apartment, or stay on a campsite where rents are considerably lower.

In return you will be expected to take your job seriously, even though it will be fun. Show up on time, do your job well, and save the fooling around for after work (unless your job entails fooling around to entertain the clientele).

In a Spanish bar you will find it much different to working in a pub in the UK, where you only serve drinks and take the money. Working in a tourist resort, you will be expected above all to to be very friendly and talk to people, to help them enjoy their visit and encourage them to return. Most bars and nightclubs will allow you to drink alcohol while working, though it should go without saying it is not a good idea to overdo it to the point you can no longer do your job properly.

If you are a shy retiring type, working in a bar in Spain is probably not for you, and you would struggle to keep the job. But don’t let that put you off coming to Spain for the summer, there are other jobs that don’t require you to be an outgoing party animal. You could focus your job search looking for restaurant work or for a cleaning or maintenance job with one of the apartment rental companies.

Legal Aspects

As mentioned, you will have to pay contributions as at home, but your employer will take care of that. These will be counted towards your UK contributions when it comes to your pension, etc. As long everything is declared on your paperwork, it will all count. You will sign a contract when you start your job, and you will need an ID number. This you can obtain yourself through an agent (Gestor) or your employer will most likely get it for you. Either way you will have to pay for it; around €10, plus a fee if you use a Gestor.

This number, known as an NIE (Numero Indentificacion de Extranjeros, or foreigners’ identification number) is yours for life, so you should keep the paper safe, and make a note of the number. It may be a while before you receive the official paper, but you will be given a temporary document interim.

While there will still be businesses that take a chance and employ “black” workers (as in they do not register staff as working and no contributions are paid) these are few and far between these days, as fines for doing so are hefty. It is a much more likely scenario a boss will want to register you as working part time when in fact you are full-time; which will lower the amount of monthly social security payment he needs to make on your behalf. Whether you agree to this is a matter for your discretion –  but with summer workers usually only employed for the busiest part of the season when the businesses take most money, most bosses will not be looking to cut corners and have potential problems at this time of the year. If you are caught working black, or working outside the hours stated on a part-time contract, as the employee you will not be fined. It is the employer who is held responsible and takes the rap.

Spanish law requires everyone to carry photo ID on their person at all times, and if you are stopped and asked to produce it failure to do so can get you in trouble. As Brits don’t have ID cards, you are expected to produce a passport, but of course no-one wants to carry a passport everywhere with them. My suggestion is to colour photocopy both your passport and NIE number (a green paper) which you can produce if challenged. If they insist on an original they will ask you to pass by the station with it the following day, but this is better than running the risk of losing your documents and the inconvenience of trying to replace them.

Finding A Job and Keeping it

There are ways to help you find your ideal job and to keep it; primarily go for an interview well dressed, preferably not in a T shirt and baggy shorts; except maybe if you are applying for beach jobs. You would do well to type yourself a CV if you have experience, although experience is not always necessary for summer work. Even if you have worked in bars in the UK, you will find you have to learn again in Spain as it is all very different. While you probably wont be asked to do so, producing a couple of written references from previous employers will likely enhance your chances.

Getting hired is usually as simple as going from bar to bar asking if they need staff, and even if they say no, just keep trying in the same places. Often summer workers become disillusioned or meet someone and move on; opening up a space which you could fill, and the manager will immediately think of that person who comes in every day asking for work before they look elsewhere. Use your common sense here, as this only applies when asking for work in larger companies that employ at least half a dozen staff – needless to say it would a waste of your time to use this tactic on a family run business with just one employee who has worked here for years.

Once you have the job; do it to the best of your ability, and always do as you are asked, even if you may not agree with the boss’s ideas. Never question an order in front of clients, but it is acceptable to talk to the boss at the end of shift, to ask why that is done that way, so you understand his reasoning. You can also make suggestions to improve service, but respectfully and in the right time and place. If you see something needs doing, use your initiative and do it without waiting to be asked. Be prepared to work as a team, and to help another staff member out if their workload is bigger than yours at any time.

Be friendly with the customers, as bar managers are primarily looking to see how much money you put in the till, so always do your best to keep customers happy so they return and stay for more than a single drink before going onto the next bar.

Watch you don’t overdo it with the alcohol, and all should be well.

Work availability

The availability of work will vary from resort to resort. As a rule of the thumb the busiest time of the year in resort towns is from the beginning of July until about the 20th August, but many businesses will start looking for summer staff from the beginning of June onwards. If you go to Spain before June, make sure you take enough money to keep yourself for at least a month as you may not find work immediately.

A summer job in Spain is nearly always a fabulous idea, and while hard work, you will meet some great new friends and have the time of your life!

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