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The Unemployment and Recruitment Process during the Pandemic in Spain

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

“The COVID-19 pandemic hit Spain harder than most countries. More than 3.2 million people have been infected, the eighth largest number in the world, and over 75.000 died from coronavirus.” (Chislett, 2021)

“Employment Rate in Spain increased to 50.52 percent in the third quarter of 2021 from 49.63% percent in the second quarter of 2021.” (TradicEconomic, 2022)

This article will talk about unemployment in Spain during the pandemic. Also, the recruitment process and changes made because of the pandemic are discussed.

Unemployment in Spain during the pandemic

The tourism sector

Spain faced the biggest recession in the world during the pandemic. Since tourism is one of the biggest parts of the economic system, the impact of the pandemic was severe. Already, Spain suffered high levels of structural unemployment due to the financial and economic crisis in 1980. Therefore, tourism was the key sector of Spain’s economy before the pandemic. So, many workers in the tourism sector lost their jobs.

Trends in companies

Spain consists of many small businesses. Consequently, these firms are more vulnerable to changes. Due to the pandemic, new regulations were instilled. Therefore, to adjust to the legal framework, new trends appeared:

· Technological revolution (remote working, signing documents electronically)

· Legal uncertainty

· Labor and employment impact on companies

· Remote management

· Reassessing of priorities

Unemployment rate in Spain

At the start of the pandemic, the unemployment rate in Spain was 14%. By the end of 2020, this had increased to 16,2%. However, this slight increase is because Spain already suffered from high unemployment.

The crisis has significantly impacted households. To elaborate, wage incomes have been reduced. When looking at financial stability, data shows that more households are becoming unemployed. Additionally, the real estate market and the banking sector have been affected. Therefore, people cannot buy houses or take credit. However, Spain is still one of the fastest-recovering countries after the pandemic. Employment is gradually getting better.

unemployment in Spain from 1999 to 2020
This statistic shows the unemployment rate in Spain from 1999 to 2020. In 2020 the unemployment rate in Spain was 15,67 percent. Today, Spain has the second-highest unemployment rate of all EU states.

Recruitment in a changing world

Due to the pandemic, remote work became more popular. Companies adjusted, for example by holding job interviews via Zoom. Also, human resource workers had to learn online working skills. So, new trends emerged in recruitment:

Artificial Intelligence and Gamification

Nowadays, candidates are selected more by skill than by education. Gamification in recruiting has become mainstream in the HR space. Then, game technology is applied. Candidates are invited to participate in a game, and the results show their skills. Therefore, it attracts, selects, and develops employees. Additionally, Artificial Intelligence helps process digital documents.

Selection of passive candidates or proactive recruitment

In this instance, the selection is made via social media. For example, LinkedIn or Twitter. Jobs are posted on these platforms. Then, hashtags and filters are used to find people looking for similar jobs. Passive job seekers are employed individuals who may be open to other good career opportunities. Therefore, many employers target them since they have a positive employment record. Afterward, the employers try to locate the passive job seekers and convince them to apply.

Recruitment marketing

Recruitment marketing uses marketing strategies to promote the value of working for an employer. Thus, talent is attracted, engaged, recruited, and retained. The marketing includes skills, practices, and technologies. Currently, candidates discover and consider employers the same way consumers find products and services. Therefore, an online presence helps the business reach further. What candidates learn about the company’s mission and culture can influence their decisions greatly.

virtual meetings during Covid

Recruitment process in Spain

Spain is slowly recovering after the pandemic. The pandemic has changed almost every working process that exists. For instance, virtual interviews have become more normal. Therefore, there is a wider range of candidates, as location doesn’t matter. Currently, candidates in Spain mostly search for jobs in bigger and more stable companies. After the shutdown, the recruitment process started again. But, there are more options for job seekers now.


So, the pandemic changed the world and the Human Resources process of recruitment. Spain was greatly impacted by the pandemic. However, it is recovering quickly. Spain’s economic recovery won’t be instant, as the pandemic’s impact has been seismic. Still, the country continues to rebuild its economy and adapt to the changing world.


Reference list

Zala Mlinar author of article The unemployment and recruitment process during the pandemic in Spain

Author: Zala Mlinar

Date of publication: 16/2/2022

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