Hiring a Software Engineer in Spain: Key Insights and Salary Considerations

When it comes to hiring a Senior Engineer (Java) in Spain, finding the ideal candidate can be a challenging task. To assist you in navigating the recruitment process, this article provides key insights and tips based on the Spanish software engineering market. Discover important factors such as language proficiency, preferred locations, salary expectations, and strategies for conducting successful technical interviews.

1. Language Proficiency and Market Overview:

You can expect Spaniards to have a lesser knowledge of English compared to other engineers in Europe. Our advice is not to worry, ask for clarification or ask them to repeat in different words if your conversation partner speaks with a noticeable accent, or ask them to slow down while you take notes. Keep in mind that some candidates may prefer to communicate in Spanish, even if you reach out to them in English.

2. Preferred Locations:

In Spain, most Java engineers work in outsourcing companies specializing in banking, fintech, e-commerce, or in prominent retail giants like Mango and Adidas. However, if you are specifically targeting engineers with a higher level of English proficiency and modern tech stacks, Barcelona is the ideal tech hub to explore. For engineers from former Soviet countries, Valencia is a city where you may find a considerable number of qualified candidates.

3. Experience Level and Responsiveness:

Experienced engineers are generally more responsive to job offers compared to beginners. Candidates who have relocated from Latin America, India, Ukraine, or have hit a career plateau in their current company are often eager to explore new technology stacks, seek promotion, or contribute to projects from the ground up. On the other hand, entry-level engineers prioritize stability and seek long-term career prospects.

4. Family and Work-Life Balance:

Family and work-life balance are top priorities for many software engineers in Spain. To attract and retain top talent, consider offering flexible working hours, a generous 2-hour lunch break, remote work options, an increased number of public holidays, and extended paternity leave. Spaniards value the opportunity to be closer to their families and may prioritize it over other career opportunities.

5. Salary Expectations:

Contrary to popular belief, Spanish engineers are interested in earning higher salaries. When engaging with candidates, be prepared to negotiate competitive compensation packages. Backend engineers in passive job search, for example, may consider a job offer if the rate is increased by 10% to 25%. Depending on experience level and proficiency in modern tech stacks such as Spring framework, Java11+, and AWS, salary expectations can range from 45,000 euros to 100,000 euros per year (gross).

6. Technical Interview Preparation:

Help candidates prepare for technical interviews by providing clear expectations and insights into the interview process. Inform them about potential elements such as live coding exercises, case studies, and system design challenges. Advise candidates to focus on specific areas relevant to the role, ensuring they feel adequately prepared and confident.

When hiring a software engineer in Spain, it's essential to consider factors such as language proficiency, preferred locations, work-life balance priorities, and salary expectations. By understanding the nuances of the Spanish software engineering market, you can attract and recruit top talent effectively. Use these insights and strategies to conduct successful technical interviews and build a strong team of skilled engineers in Spain.