The economic recovery in Spain is reaching cruising speed. The latest forecasts point to a 2.5% increase of GDP in 2015. The depreciation of the euro and falling oil prices are blowing new life into the domestic economy, leading to greater job creation. This optimism is also felt by Spanish companies, 63% of which will be hiring new employees this year; 10% more than in 2014, according to the Labour Market Guide 2015 prepared by the British multinational, Hays, which specialises in the recruitment of qualified professionals. The report, which provides a comprehensive analysis of trends and wages in Spain, is based on the answers and opinions of 1,500 employers and 8,300 workers, of which 2,970 were unemployed.

At national level, the most frequently required profiles are Commercial & Sales (53%), followed by Engineering (33%) and Information Technologies (21%). Most of the people that will be hired will hold senior positions (66%), with more than 4 years of experience, and junior positions (64%), with up to 4 years of experience. If employers were able to provide advice on what future candidates should study, they would tell them to improve their language skills (81%) and their knowledge of new technologies (51%). Finally, 52% of companies say they have expanded internationally and 93% confirmed that they shall continue to do so.

Experience is the most highly valued quality when hiring a worker (82%) compared to qualifications (18%). The five factors that businessmen value most when selecting a candidate are versatility and the capacity to adapt (51%), a proactive and dynamic attitude (50%) and knowledge of the sector (41%). On the other hand, the five most serious mistakes a candidate can make during a job interview are to display antipathy or arrogance (65%), lack of honesty (59%), lack of interest during the interview (56%), failure to describe their work experience (49%) and, finally, negative comments on former bosses or employers (44%).

In the opinion of Christopher Dottie, managing director of Hays España, “we shall probably never experience a labour market like the one prior to 2007, but, without doubt, there is optimism in the environment. 45% of employers said that the situation in their companies had improved a little and 11% said it had improved quite a lot”. According to Dottie, “the important thing is that companies must take control of the situation and decide how they are going to cope with change, consider new goals and the methods to achieve them. A change of mentality that must affect all, the Government, the European Union and the education sector… and also citizens. The big question now is: what are we going to do?”.

The opinions of workers

After the historic peak of the unemployment rate in 2013; we can already speak of a gradual decrease in unemployment in 2014. However, the long-term unemployed, youth unemployment and returning to the labour market for people over 45 remain the major concerns of Spanish society, as reflected in the responses of the workers surveyed, who were less optimistic than the businessmen.  34% believe that the Spanish labour market has not changed, 35% think it has worsened and 31% say that it has improved. Pessimism is greater among the unemployed. 40% believe that the market has worsened, compared to 31% among professionals who are employed.

71% of employed workers work in fields related to their training. By sector, engineers present the highest percentage (75%). On the other hand, over half of the people who trained in Arts and Humanities are not doing jobs related to their field of study (53%). However, only 18% regret the training they chose.

Finally, 74% of the employees surveyed are not afraid of losing their jobs in the coming months and 40% would not recommend their current companies to a friend or family member. 51% would be prepared to accept a cut in wages if that would reduce long-term and youth unemployment. Of these, men (53%) are more willing to do so than women (47%).