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Working in: Spain

Feb 21, 2020

Spain, known for its Mediterranean climate, great food and rich culture is an excellent place to develop your career in Europe. Far from the cold and grey flats of The Netherlands or the rainy forests of Germany, life in Spain is pleasant and relaxed. You’re here to work of course, so all this talk of the weather is fine, but you’re here to become a raging success at your new place of work. Read on and it will be so!

As opposed to the Western and Northern countries, Spain is a hierarchical society. The boss is actually the boss. This may seem alien to people from countries like The Netherlands or Germany, but when your boss tells you to jump, you ask how high. As always, it differs per company, but you can expect your ideal boss to be a benevolent autocrat, rather than someone who is looking for input from his subordinates. Another aspect in which Spain slightly differs from the rest of Europe is collectivism. While still an individualistic western country, Spain puts more value in community and teamwork. Expect your colleagues to form a tight group that is loyal to one another and does things together rather than alone. This may be a bit of a shift for all of you lone rangers out there, but show them some love and you will get loyalty and valuable new friends in return.

Something that really defines Spanish working culture is avoidance of confrontations. The Spanish like their rules and like to abide by these rules. They don’t like change, because change leads to confrontation and uncertainty which leads to stress which leads to the dark side. I may have made that last part up, but you know what I mean. A fun statistic is that in a recent survey 75% of young Spanish professionals indicated they’d like to have a lifelong stable job at the same employer. Especially in younger generations around the word, this is vastly different. In the USA for instance, only 17% of young people sees a lifelong stable job as something to aspire to. So don’t expect to come in to your new office, tear down all the pictures, redecorate and tell your colleagues everything will be different now.

But what about social life? And those naps during the day! Don’t worry, I will talk about siesta’s too. I’m afraid it’s not going to be the news you were hoping for. The Siesta as a concept is sadly dying in our modern, high pressure society. The high pressure job market means long daily breaks aren’t possible anymore and, let’s be fair, most building have airco to cope with the heat. This doesn’t stop the Spanish from enjoying their days until late in the night. They sleep on average, an hour less than other European countries. Great if you’re a nocturnal creature and if you’re not, no one will stop you from going to your bed. Well no one, but the great food, music and wine of course.

At ATG Europe we have people from countries from all over the world of course, including Spain. So we can give you all the info you need to make your job in Spain a success.