Gran Canaria Jobs: Working in the Tourism Sector

If you're looking for Gran Canaria jobs, you must know that there are clearly two types: those that serve tourists that are on holiday (these are mostly located in southern Gran Canaria), and those jobs related to local companies that sell products or services to the islanders.


If you look at all of Spain, 12% of the people who have jobs work in tourist-related business. In the Canaries, on the other hand, one third of every person who has a job, is working in this sector. We’re talking of  a total work force of 750,000 workers, out of which 250,000 try to make tourists happy,  working in hotels or restaurants, as waiters, cleaners, etc., are self-employed, or working for companies that provide services to the tourists. Since 2011, hotel occupancy rates have been quite high, because of problems in other competing destinations like Tunisia, Libya, Egypt.


Tips to get Hospitality Gran Canaria jobs:

1) Be an all-rounder. If you’re looking to work in a hotel, you will be requested to cooperate in different departments, depending on the daily needs. What this means is that you will no longer be hired just as a “waiter,” but be required to help in any of the other jobs (if necessary), depending on if anyone gets sick or is absent, or on holiday. Three days you can be a waiter, another day you might be needed to fix switches or unblock pipes. The more you know, the more chances of getting hired.

2) Be willing to move around. Many islanders reject jobs when they are offered a job on another island, or even if they have to commute an hour each way on the same island. Try to get a job anywhere in the Canaries. There are islands that are much bigger than Gran Canaria, such as Tenerife, Fuerteventura, and Lanzarote. Job creation rate is better in Tenerife (updated March 2014).

3) Education: If you have a college degree, then you’re better off than most of the 45,000 unemployed people who are seeking a job in this sector, in the Canaries. There are 300,000 unemployed people in the Canaries.

4) Study what jobs are in demand, before applying. Post your curriculum on the leading tourist job portal www.turijob.com , and frequently check out the offers. New types of jobs, such as social media community managers that speak various languages are going to be in demand.

5) Speak at least one or two languages, especially English and German. Learn some Spanish before coming. I strongly recommend this FREE BBC course. Watch the videos a few times. No excuses. Come on, its free!

6) Apply for a job during the low season (April to July). There are many hotels who hire extra staff during the high season (October to March), before it starts.

7) Avoid employment agency scams: If anyone asks you for money to get a job, avoid at all costs.

8) Get 4 or 5 interview appointments, before travelling.

9) Be ready to work extra time, for free: This isn't right, but is what is happening throughout Spain, for all kinds of jobs, even outside the hospitality sector. If you're hired for an eight-hour job, you will oftenly be required to work a little more than that, at the beginning and/or end of your work shift. Workers who rush out immediately when the time is up, and leave things half-finished for the next day, don't last very long, unless they're working for the government. 


If the hotel ocupancy rates are great, why aren’t hotels hiring more people ?

1) Hotel jobs are limited: Hotel owners complain that they can create a few jobs here and there, but can’t absorb the the whole amount of unemployed people. There was a big drop in visitors between 2008 and 2010, which is when they fired many people. Since then, they have very slowly hired workers. Labor unions complain that workers are being forced to over-work, and an example of this is if a maid cleaned 15 rooms before, now she must clean 30, for the same pay.


2) No new hotels: The number of hotels is limited by law in the Canaries. If someone wants to build a new hotel, he/she has to buy an old one and renovate it inside-out. Hotel owners find it hard to get loans to do the refurbishing, because they have too many debts, or don’t feel like refurbishing them, and lose a year of income with a high occupancy rate.


Gran Canaria Jobs: Where are the Real Opportunities in the Tourist Sector

The recession in the tourist sector between 2008 and 2010 literally wiped out the small businesses and self-employed people who provided additional services to hotels and tourists.  Examples of these are shuttle services to and from the airport, excursions, travel agencies, sports and other entertainment activities for tourists. I feel that the last item is where there is the most potential.


Shall I quit my job and come ?

People keep asking me this question again and again. The answer is: not yet. I try to discourage most people, because I don’t see new jobs being created regularly. I am quite optimistic once things start improving. I predict at the end of 2014 is when more Gran Canaria jobs will be available.

1. Wait till the economy improves. Although the economy looks like it is picking up on the whole, it won’t really take off, until the hotel and apartment owners start renovating, and therefore hire companies, who will in turn hire workers to do all the hard building work. The president of the Canarian Autonomous region, Paulino Rivero, has negotiated loans at lower rates with all the important banks, but it will take a while to get that money to enter the economy. Once that happens, I am really optimistic about the economy.  


2. Too much competition. When you arrive in the Canaries, you will have to compete with 300,000 people to get jobs. If you plan to go hunting door to door for a job, it  will be very difficult. You need to know people who can help you, and if you don’t know anyone, it will take a few months until you make the right contacts.


3. Wages are way to low. If you’re coming from the U.K. or northern Europe, the Canarian (and Gran Canaria jobs') wages will look ridiculously low, unless you work for a foreign company.  The pay scale is about half of Europe. The salary for different jobs in hotels can start at 800 euros and go up to about 1500 euros, depending on the type of job. The work week for hotel and restaurant jobs is of 5 days. Wages for management jobs can vary from 1500 euros to 3000 euros or more, per month. Rents start out at roughly 500 euros per month for a modest apartment. The wages will stay low, because there are too many jobless, and it is fairly easy to replace workers.


4. Tourist spending is limited. If you want to start your own business, you must know that restaurants and shop owners near hotels, say tourists buy little, especially those that are staying at all-inclusive resorts. If you want to build a business that has to do with tourism, it will take at least 6 months or more, to get going and get enough customers to cover the costs. It is better to negotiate with tour operators and big hotel chains, instead of trying to get tourists to sign up one by one. Again, that will take some time, and will require patience, but once it gets going, if you’ve studied the market, there is potential.

5. Wait till the laws are clear: Currently no one is allowed to build hotels in the Canaries. This might change, because the government of Gran Canaria, and the central government of Spain are trying to declare this illegal. There are fewer four star hotels in Gran Canaria, compared to other islands, and these are the ones that get filled up first. If the laws change, thousands of local Canarians who got laid off during the huge property bubble, will again get jobs, and increase the consumer
spending. If you walk around the island, it is rare to see any building work or cranes of any kind. If permission is granted to build new hotels, new Gran Canaria jobs in the hospitality sector will also be created. At the moment of writing these lines (March 2014) investors are staying away, because they don't know where they stand. Investors don't want to put money to renovate in case laws change, and new building is allowed.

6. Poverty: Don't come if you don't have savings for a few months. The pressure of arriving and then looking for a job can be high. There are Europeans who come to find a job, can't find it, and become homeless.

Gran Canaria Jobs: Useful Websites

There are three websites that I would like to recommend to get Gran Canaria jobs, or research what's available:


1) Turijobs: This is the best place to look for any jobs related to tourism. You can search in many different countries, and it is becoming increasingly popular. It has plenty of different Gran Canaria jobs.



2) Infojobs: This website is one of the best sites to find a job anywhere in Spain, and worth bookmarking. You have to upload your CV once, and then you can apply to all the jobs you find interesting. There are many companies that use this particular site to hire their staff. It is always a good idea to have a look every few days, as new advertisements are posted daily. Companies can see your details and if they want to hire you, will call you for an interview, so one must be in or around Gran Canaria before applying for any particular job.

To get an idea of what sort of jobs are available, click here , and then:

1) Choose in the “Provincia” drop-down menu, where you would like to work. If you’re looking for Gran Canaria Jobs, then you will choose “Las Palmas.”
2) Click on the “Buscar Ofertas” (Search for Offers) button.

If after looking at the jobs that are available, you’re interested, then you can register for free, by filling a small form, which only takes a couple of minutes to fill in. To do so, choose the option “Date de alta gratis” (Free registration) on the top right hand corner.


3) Infoempleo:  More and more small local business people are choosing this portal to look for qualified workers. The main reason they're using it, is that the rates are very affordable, compared to Infojobs, which charges over 200 euros for posting a job, even if you don't find the right candidate. 



4) Sepe: This website belongs to the Spanish central government, and it's goal is to help unemployed people find jobs. To have a look at what jobs are available, click here . Then, choose the job category you're looking for and region where you want to find a job.  

Several pages with available jobs will be shown, and if you are interested, you can upload your CV once, and apply to all the offers you wish.

Most businesses rarely upload any offers for Gran Canaria jobs on the Sepe website, so I recommend the other two.

5) Jobs for the disabled: If you are disabled, the leading Gran Canaria jobs portal is called portalento.es and is managed by one of the world's best funded blind people's organization ("ONCE" which stands for Organizacion Nacional de Ciegos de España), as well as the European Social Fund.



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