The need for people with Vocational Training qualifications has equalled that of university students

For the last twenty-one years, the website, Infoempleo, and the human resources firm, Adecco, have published a report on the supply and demand of employment in Spain. This report provides an insight into the condition of the job market. The most recent study, submitted in early October, notes that job offers have increased over the last year by 13.1%, the sharpest increase in a decade.

One of the main conclusions is related to the qualifications affected by this growing demand. In an environment in which economic transformation is forcing companies to hire qualified professionals, the employment rate of people with vocational training qualifications has increased significantly by eight points in comparison with 2016. It now accounts for 40.3% of the total, only two-tenths of a point less than the rate for university students. According to professional fields, Administration and Management and Information & Communication Technologies are the most frequently requested.

Postgraduate studies, despite being highly valued, are only essential in 1.7% of job offers. Languages, on the other hand, due to the greater level of business internationalization, are increasingly relevant and appear in 34.8% of offers, with English as the absolute leader.

In addition to the qualifications, 80.5% of the job advertisements – more than 300,000 were reviewed – required prior experience.
The Infoempleo and Adecco report also reveals that the services sector accounts for 56.4% of the job offers, followed by industry with 26.5% and ICT-related activities, with 12.8%. Construction is also gaining ground, reaching 3.7%.

The data also show that regional considerations are becoming more acute because six out of every ten job offers are published in Madrid, Catalonia and the Basque Country. By province, Madrid and Barcelona accumulate almost half of the total.

Positive and negative aspects

Many positive aspects and some negative elements were announced at the presentation of the study by Jorge Guelbenzu, CEO of Infoempleo, Santiago Soler, secretary general of the Adecco Group, and Yolanda Valdeolivas, Secretary of Employment. Guelbenzu drew attention to the problems that exist to cover certain vacancies: “there are more offers for qualified jobs but there is a lack of professionals”. The digitization and automation of work, the ageing of the population and the need for job-life reconciliation are, in his view, the main challenges that businesses have to face.

Santiago Soler, on the other hand, reflected on the need Spain has to adapt to phenomena such as globalization and new production models, artificial intelligence, robotics, or cryptocurrency. “There will be cases of job replacements, but many more jobs will be generated. Therefore, we must adapt the training model because there is a gap that we must reduce through the permanent retraining of people as this is going to affect all of us”, he warned.

Finally, the Secretary of Employment stressed the need for an action plan for youth employment and quality. “It is intolerable that a state has to live with youth unemployment rates of 30%, 40% and even 50% in some age groups. We have to break the experience gap because young people should have access to their first work experience and then join the workforce under equal conditions”, she said. Yolanda Valdeolivas favoured the idea of recovering the “purpose” of temporary contracts provided that they do not generate instability or a “gap” between these and indefinite term contracts.