Jobs Abroad in Barcelona

Back to Programs

A Guide to Working Abroad in Barcelona

Working abroad in Barcelona means earning valuable professional experience while enjoying life in a coastal Spanish city. Filled with fabled architecture and art works, by the likes of Gaudí and Picasso, you’ll never be bored with your surroundings. International workers seeking jobs in Barcelona are both welcomed and readily employed. Individuals can boost their resume while dancing ‘til dawn, feasting on tapas, and basking in the Iberian sun. Barcelona is known as the “City of Dreams,” so take your chance to live out your dreams by working abroad in this mesmerizing Spanish city.

Jobs Abroad in Barcelona

As the second-largest city in Spain, Barcelona’s range of industries and job opportunities is extensive. Working as an au pair in Barcelona is an ideal way to experience Spanish culture authentically, as you will be living, eating, and going about your day to day activities along with a local host family. Au pairs are required to provide child care, light housework, and sometimes English lessons for a local family for around 25 hours per week, in return for accommodation (and sometimes additional benefits such as meals or a small stipend).

As a popular European tourist destination, the hospitality industry in Barcelona is thriving. Since certain seasons mean more tourists, tourism job opportunities in Barcelona may be temporary or short term, but very open to international workers. It is possible for foreigners to work in Barcelona as hotel front desk attendants, housekeepers, waiters, bartenders, and cooks. Hospitality jobs in Barcelona may require a commitment to night and/or weekend work, but this offers flexibility that rigid desk jobs do not.

Marketing and public relations jobs in Barcelona are also offered for the business savvy! Foreign workers can build their professional portfolio by engaging in an international marketplace and developing communication skills that are highly-valued in any location. Newly developed skills will be transferable, so when you return from working abroad employees will find your exposure to other cultures attractive, especially if they have ambitions to expand internationally or offices in multiple countries.

Many jobs in Barcelona accept sole English-speakers, but speaking Spanish or Catalán (especially fluently!) is a huge way to stand out among other international applicants. Unemployment rates are on the rise, which increases competition for jobs in Barcelona, since there are a larger number of local candidates. Do your best to use any bilingual skills. professional experience, and simply your status as an international worker as an attractive selling point when applying for jobs in Barcelona.

Life in Barcelona

Foreign workers may need some time to adjust to the laid-back nature of Barcelona, and Spain in general. It is not rare for shops and stores to take a siesta, which means staying closed from one to four o’clock. Additionally, dinnertime may not be until nine or ten o’clock. Local people then take time to enjoy the nightlife, only returning in the early hours of the morning. 

While siesta may become a normal part of your routine, don’t sleep all your time away! Enjoy the many sights, events, and experiences while working abroad in Barcelona. Those interested in architecture will revel in the beauty of Gaudi’s structures across the city. Looking for a more restful activity? Spend a day off work at the beach sipping Cava (a.k.a. Spanish Champagne), the national drink of Catalonia. Sports fanatics must catch a FC Barcelona game at world Camp Nou. 

Day to day, workers will find that walking or public transportation are the best options for getting to work or out and about around the city. The reliable metro system is easy to navigate if you wish to stay off your feet though, or have a longer commute.

Foreigners should be aware that Barcelona is the capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia. Catalán is its own language, and Catalans take their national identity quite seriously. Be respectful of this cultural heritage while working in Barcelona, and you will not run into any issues! 

Salary & Affordability

Salaries for jobs in Barcelona are lower than much of Northern Europe. Americans will also find that there are comparable job opportunities in the U.S., but may pay more than what they’re accustomed to. For this reason, individuals may find that au pair jobs actually have quite significant benefits, such as free room and board, including three meals a day, and a stipend. 

Locals estimate that living on $1,000 is roughly what it takes to get by. Greater than this and you will be more than comfortable financially. Most positions for foreign workers in Barcelona, however, will pay around $300.

To keep costs down, most international employees share housing and attempt to live frugally. Some international workers may choose to walk instead of paying for transportation, for example. It is also always a good idea to eat and live as the locals do as much as possible. Typically, foreign products must be imported at a heavy cost, so this is reflected in the prices of imported goods. Locally produced food, clothing, and other goods will be much more cheap, and buying them will contribute to a more authentic experience of Barcelona and Spanish life.

Accommodation & Visas

Homestays are a very popular option for international workers in Barcelona. Those who are learning or who would like to learn Spanish should especially opt for living with a homestay, since this type of organic immersion is an incredible way to improve language skills.

Apartments are an even more common accommodation arrangement in Barcelona, and will be more comfortable for individuals who prefer more independence and down-time. However, this option can also be quite expensive, so consider living with at least one roommate.

Citizens of EU countries are free to travel and work in Barcelona the same as any Spanish citizen. Applying for visas to work in Spain as a non-EU citizen can be difficult though. A visa is required for these individuals to enter Spain, and an additional permit is required if you plan to obtain employment and work in Spain. When a job contract is confirmed, the employer is responsible for securing necessary paperwork for the work permit, however. Then, the employee is accountable for procuring the entry visa. Visa restrictions and guidelines are constantly changing, so be sure to do your research and plan early to avoid last-minute crises.

Benefits & Challenges

Laid-back Living. There’s not much room to complain when your schedule is comprised of an afternoon siesta and weekends lying on the beach. Foreigners should embrace the relaxed lifestyle and they will come to find the perfect balance between work and free time. While your employment should be your main priority, enjoy every opportunity to experience Barcelona as the locals do.

High Unemployment. Barcelona was hit hard by the global economic crisis. As a result, the unemployment rate is high, and the supply of local employees outweighs the demand. This makes for a competitive job market for international job seekers. However, there are certain positions that are geared specifically toward international workers, and if you are willing to accept lower wages, you may find that the cultural experience you gain in exchange for less pay is more valuable than any paycheck.

Read More

written by:

A Guide To
Working Abroad in Barcelona


 Find Work Abroad in Barcelona Now


This listing has been saved 72 times

Get Paid to Teach English in Spain

Want a job in Spain? Earn your accredited TEFL certification from International TEFL Academy & join 15,000 ITA alumni teaching English in Spain & 80+ countries. ITA offers TEFL courses online & in 25 locations, including Madrid & Barcelona. Get in touch & our expert staff will provide you with personal guidance regarding salaries, visas and everything you need to get a great job.


This listing has been saved 117 times

Experience Spain while teaching English - no exp needed

Native English speakers are needed to help young Spanish students improve their English conversation - interested? You don't need previous experience to join this 9 month placement - apply if you meet the following criteria: - Native English - To be between 18 and 30 - Successful completion of pre-university studies - Enthusiasm for working with children - To be adaptable and able to ...


This listing has been saved 24 times

Work in Spain as a Beauty Therapist

Would you like to explore the wonders of Spain? Sip Sangria and try your hand at surfing? Would you like to make some extra money while at it? Well, Instituto Hemingway has just the thing for you! We are offering beauty therapists the chance to enjoy Spain while enhancing their résumés. Instituto Hemingway places interns all over Spain. While it specializes in teaching Spanish to foreigners...


This listing has been saved 2 times

Join the Paid Spain TEFL Internship

Join the 9 month Paid Spain TEFL Internship & head to its vibrant eastern regions of Catalonia and Valencia this year! Embark on an amazing experience as a TEFL intern and work to change lives by teaching English as foreign language! Touch down in the historic city of Barcelona where you'll meet your fellow interns. This is your chance to get to know all the interns a little better and soak ...


This listing has been saved 75 times

Au Pair in Spain

Live in Spain and work as an au pair. This is the perfect opportunity to experience the Spanish culture, learn the language, and earn a paycheck. Placements are in Madrid, Seville, Barcelona, Malaga, and Santander. Students from around the world find Spain to be an exceptional place to live and learn a language that is spoken by more than 400 million people around the world. They can use the...


This listing has been saved 22 times

Accredited TEFL courses in the centre of Barcelona. Join us!

This is a four week course designed to prepare participants to become English Language Teachers. We run courses throughout the year in Barcelona. The course is highly practical and includes supervised teaching practice and feedback with 'real' students from the second day of the course. Input sessions and workshops center on such areas as language awareness, lesson planning materials and method...


This listing has been saved 105 times

Summer Program Staff in Italy, France or Spain

Abbey Road is screening candidates for several positions, including Program Coordinators, Program Directors, Recruitment Assistants, and Instructors. The summer staff and faculty are typically made up of university directors, high school teachers, highly qualified college graduates, and graduate students. Abbey Road receives several hundred applications each year, so it is essential that applic...


This listing has been saved 18 times

Intern in Barcelona with Absolute Internship

Break out of your comfort zone this summer at Absolute Internship's award winning program in Barcelona. Take the next step along your career path as you intern full-time in one of Europe's hottest start-up capitals while exploring the city's rich history and breathtaking architecture. Intern for one, two or three months and choose from other 30 industries including Entrepreneurship, Busines...


This listing has been saved 109 times

Numerous Job Opportunities in Spain

Grab this chance to strengthen your résumé with professional experience in an international setting! Working in Spain presents more than a job. You will reap plenty of benefits, from experiencing authentic Spanish culture to having plenty of time to explore world-renowned places. Spain is a great destination for work and travel! Discover stunning landscapes, immerse in rich cultural heritage...


This listing has been saved 26 times

Au Pair in Spain

Latitude International Education Au Pair in Spain program offers the unique opportunity to experience Spanish culture and language. Au pairs will be helping a host family with childcare and light housework in exchange for room and board, and a stipend. Au pairs will have the chance to study Spanish and take part in family life, teach children English, and have a good time exploring the sights, ...