The 'Situations Vacant' section doesn't even make a full page of the fortnightly paper

You might have already read about why I decided to relocate to Tenerife and how I managed to find an apartment within four days, but none of this is much good without a job.

For many people the idea of moving somewhere like Tenerife is an attractive prospect.

Want to spend your afternoons here?

Our reason for coming to Tenerife was simply that we were not yet ready to return to Sweden after almost six months of travelling around South America, and finding a job mid-term is not easy for a high school English teacher like me.

Tenerife’s fantastic winter climate suits our needs perfectly while we stop and decide what we want for our future.

I contacted the International and language schools of the island on the off-chance that they had a vacancy. I knew that this was unlikely due to the time of year but it’s always worth a shot. I received plenty of positive feedback, including a potential teaching post for August 2012, but nothing immediate. Even private English lessons are hard to come by.

Life on a paradise island is an appealing thought but the reality can be very different.

The 'Situations Vacant' section doesn't even make a full page of the fortnightly paper

The current economic climate has hit Spain hard, with high unemployment being a big issue.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the Jobs section of the Tenerife forum.

Recent comments on the forum include:

“We have over 30% unemployment in Spain at the moment… Things are really tough! You might want to re-think your plans as jobs are very scarce right now.”

“Jobs are hard to find… finding jobs is possible but you have to really put yourselves out there, and I mean really.”

“…been here just over a year, still scratching around for work…”

“I hate to sound negative here. But prepare yourself for a tough time. There is work as already said. But there isn’t much and it’s not well paid.”

Jobs are available on Tenerife but the selection is limited, particularly in the south where most vacancies are linked to the tourist industry: jobs in bars and restaurants being the most common.

Without a decent grasp of the Spanish language retail, bar, and restaurant work may be hard to come by.

There are plenty of PR jobs – these are the jobs where you stand outside a bar or a restaurant trying to get people inside. Pay is on a commission basis and the days are long, with some PRs standing outside in the hot sun from 9am until 8pm—sometimes 6 days a week. The low pay often leads to desperate and aggressive sales tactics out on the street, unpleasant for both seller and potential customer.

Are you pushy enough to drag people into the bar?

If selling is your thing then you might hit the jackpot as there are plenty of sales jobs available: from telemarketing to timeshare, lotions and jewelery to excursions, there is no shortage of companies requiring sales reps, and for the right person this could be a great opportunity. However if selling is not your thing then you might want to steer clear, as many of these operations work on a commission basis and there is nothing more disheartening than working a full day with nothing to show for it.

Click this link for an insightful post regarding the reality of the employment situation here.

Here is my best advice for job-hunting in Tenerife:

  • Don’t assume that experience or qualifications guarantee work. Many people are not working in their field of expertise—most are doing what they can just to get by
  • Be prepared to do any sort of work when you first arrive
  • Learn Spanish, this will greatly increase your employability on the island
  • Take a holiday on the island beforehand and make some contacts that can help you search for work
  • Ask locals and long-term residents for advice, or use the forum if you are not on the island
  • Have enough money saved to see you through the first few months, even when you are earning you are likely to rely on savings. £2000 per person is the absolute minimum you should have available
  • Don’t expect a high salary, you won’t find it on Tenerife
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