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58% of companies and 83% of the active population favour transparency on salaries to foster gender equality

In 2017, average gross salary was € 23,331 — sticking around the level in 2016. Yet Spain’s Retail Price Index (IPC) rose by 2% compared with the previous year. Here, one should note that 84.5% of working Spaniards consider that the cost of living has risen more than their salary.

There is still a wage gap between men and women in Spain and both companies and Spaniards favour closing it through transparency on salaries. This is one of the findings in the latest Annual Report on the Spanish Job Market [Informe Anual sobre el Estado del Mercado Laboral Español], drawn up by InfoJobs and ESADE, for the ninth year in a row. On this issue, 58% of companies stated that they were in favour of the new nationwide proposal to publish staff salaries, with some differences depending on company size. Specifically, in the smallest firms (under 10 employees), 60.5% were in favour of this transparency measure. In the case of medium-sized firms (10 to 49 employees), 42% agreed with the proposal. However, in the case of large companies (over 50 employees), only 31.5% were in favour of the measure.

With regard to Spain’s active population, asked: “Are you in favour of companies publishing the salaries of all their employees as a measure to close the gender gap?”, 83% backed the idea.

“The figures show that there is still a gap between men’s and women’s salaries. Eurostat figures show that the gap amounts to a 15% difference in salaries between the sexes, while the UGT’s [trade union] data reveals a bigger, 23% gap”, explained Dominique Cerri, Director-General of InfoJobs, who added “That is something Spaniards see for themselves. Our study reveals that 80% of the active population thinks there are still differences between men’s and women’s salaries. By gender, 92% of women and 70% of men consider this to be the case”.

“Spain’s legislation expressly forbids any kind of discrimination between men and women. Nevertheless, ten years after enactment of Spain’s Gender Equality Act, the country’s legal instruments have been shown to be woefully inadequate in battling against sex discrimination when it comes to salaries”, says Anna Ginès, Professor and Director of ESADE’s Institute of Labour Studies (IEL). In this context, she added that “Transparency measures regarding salaries seem to be an effective way of ensuring greater wage equality between men and women and of ending the gap”.

Salaries in Spain

In 2017, the average gross salary offered by companies in InfoJobs was €23,331 per annum. This is a 0.7% rise compared with 2016 and is less than the 2% growth in Spain’s Retail Price Index (IPC) over the same period. In other words, there was a decline in workers’ average purchasing power. The InfoJobs-ESADE Report reveals that 84.5% of Spain’s active population consider that the cost of living has risen more than their salaries over the last two years.

In Spain, the highest salaries by contract type with regard to the vacancies published in InfoJobs are those for the self-employed. Specifically, in 2017, the average gross salary for self-employment contracts was €37,108 per annum, followed by permanent contracts, with an average gross annual salary of €28,924.

With regard to qualifications, university graduates are better-paid with an average gross salary of €28,280 per annum. This is markedly higher than for posts requiring vocational training (‘FP’ in the Spanish system) at €23,157, or only basic schooling (€19,661). By Autonomous Communities (regions with a degree of self-government), Madrid (€24,829) and Catalonia (€23,565) paid the highest salaries, while Aragon (€20,835) and Cantabria (€19,176) were at the bottom of the heap.

By sectors, Computing and Telecommunications once again came top of the salary ranking, with an average gross salary of €29,082. It was followed by the Real Estate and Construction sector, at €27,959 gross per annum in 2017, showing recovery compared with earlier years. If we look at the best-paid jobs in Spain, the list follows much the same pattern as in previous years: Dentist / Implantologist (€70,718); Director of Engineering Projects (€63,680); Computing Director (€50,113). One should also note the post of Real Estate Salesman, which entered the list of the Ten Best-Paid Jobs in Spain in 2017, with an average gross salary of €48,413.

47% of large companies recruited more IT staff

Computing and Telecommunications was once again the sector offering the best jobs not only in terms of average salaries (€29,082) but also in terms of the number of jobs published (around 340,000) and because it was the sector with the fewest job-seekers per post (11).

The number of jobs in this sector is growing year after year. In 2017, two posts that stood out were those for Data Analysts and Data Scientists. Specifically, in 2017 there were 1,417 vacancies for Data Analysts while there were under 700 in 2014. There was little competition for the jobs, with just 28 applicants per post even though the average gross salary was €35,864. The demand for Data Scientists has soared over the last three years, tripling the number of jobs offered to 584. In this case, there were only 22 applicants per job, despite an average gross salary of €40,336, which is far above the average wage in Spain.

“Following the trend over the last few years, there is soaring demand for professionals to lead the switch of web sites to mobile devices. Today, data analysis and processing have become drivers of new jobs”, said Cerri. “Digital transformation has opened a wide range of opportunities not only for professionals but also for companies, which can now incorporate new technologies to optimise their business processes”, he added.

The data gathered in drawing up the Report reveal that 47% of companies with fewer than 50 employees are planning to recruit IT professionals such as ‘ethical hackers’, specialists in computer security, and data scientists over the next two years to achieve digital transformation. No less than 41% of the companies in this size range stated that they have recruited such workers over the last two years.

30% of the job vacancies in InfoJobs are permanent contracts

In 2017, the InfoJobs web portal covered a total of 2,619,679 vacancies. In relative terms, the volume of vacancies rose by 29% compared with the year before. However, in absolute terms, the improvement was even more striking. InfoJobs recorded 590,162 more vacancies than in 2016, which is the greatest growth in absolute terms over the last 9 years and triple the figure for 2012, which was when the economic crisis hit hardest.

Furthermore, the Report’s data reveal that of the total number of job vacancies published on the web portal, over half a million offered permanent jobs. This is 30% of the total job vacancies placed on the platform and this category grew 13% compared with the previous year. With regard to vacancies for the self-employed, this category grew in absolute terms in 2017, with 10,148 jobs more being offered than in 2017, reaching a total of 72,152 vacancies. Yet this category’s share of total vacancies remained the same at 4%. The absolute number of vacancies for the self-employed sets a new record for the last few years.

There was greater diversity in sectors making the lion’s share of job offers in 2017. These sectors were: Commerce and Sales; Customer Care; Computing and Telecommunications, Tourism and Catering; Purchasing; Logistics and Warehousing, which together accounted for 62% of published job vacancies.

Dominique Cerri, Director-General of InfoJobs noted, “The growth in Tourism and Catering can be explained by the record number of foreigners visiting Spain in 2017. Job vacancies in the Purchasing, Logistics, and Warehousing field have doubled in a year. There are two reasons for this, the first being soaring on-line sales and the second the growth of logistics facilities based in Spain”.

The ability to work in a team is the skill that companies prize most in their staff

In 2017, job applicants’ chances of getting a job improved given less competition per post. Specifically, the number of job-seekers per vacancy dropped from 56 candidates in 2016 to 44 in 2017. This is the lowest level of competition in InfoJobs since 2008.

However, in an increasingly competitive and demanding market, companies also set store by candidates’ experience and training when recruiting. They seek professionals with the personality and attitudes needed to come up with solutions. These so-called ‘soft skills’ include personality traits, behaviour, and language that enable individuals to successfully deal with a wide range of professional and personal situations.

The InfoJobs – ESADE Report highlights the fact that ability to work in a team (70%), resolve conflicts (57%), take decisions (46%), adapt to change (44%), and communicate effectively (43%) are currently the soft skills most highly valued by companies.

Here, Anna Ginès, Director of ESADE’s Institute of Labour Studies (IEL) noted that “Companies place a great deal of store by the so-called soft skills, which cover the personality traits, social and communication skills that people need to deal with daily situations.”. She added that “according to the data gathered for the study, 78% of the active population consider that these personal or ‘soft’ skills are key. This belief is particularly strong among young workers (aged between 25 and 34), where 82% consider them crucial, and among Middle Managers, of whom 83% rate them as vital”.

The Report findings suggest that some of these skills are pretty thin on the ground. A large number of companies pointed to the following skills being the hardest to find among employees: the ability to take decisions (57%), the ability to solve conflicts and problems (56%); bearing up under pressure (44%).