Published on December 9, 2014
The capital of Spain and a popular tourist destination, Madrid is also one of the favorite cities of many business travelers. Every year Madrid welcomes millions of tourists to its picturesque streets, 15% of whom are on business trips. With its strategic location in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula, well-developed infrastructure, wide variety of high-class hotels, and great venues for conferences, Madrid aims to become the prime location for business tourists.
Several factors have led to Madrid being a financial and commercial center -
The Madrid Chamber of Commerce has been actively promoting investment-friendly plans to attract foreign companies. For example, it offers free IT consulting services to help small- and medium-size businesses with setting up their IT infrastructure.
The government of Spain does not discriminate between domestic and foreign investors and rewards both with favorable policies, including financial incentives, grants, tax exemptions on capital gains, and affordable loans.
Madrid has a very advantageous location, which, together with an incredibly well developed infrastructure, makes it an important commercial hub between the key markets in Europe, South America, and Africa.
Thanks to its dedication to heavy investments in research and development (R&D), Madrid has become a center of several very strong industry sectors. First and foremost, the service sector plays a crucial role in the city’s economy and the economy of Spain as a whole-- 85% of Madrileños are employed in the tertiary sector. The best performing sectors include corporate services, transport and communications, real estate, and financial services. With regards to R&D, Madrid invests and receives the most money in the region within that sector.
Just like any other major business metropolis in the world, Madrid has more than one financial districts within the city’s boundaries -
Financial district - AZCA Commercial Center - where most Spanish and international banks are located.
The Cuatro Torres Business Area (CTBA), whose territory previously belonged to the legendary Real Madrid FC. There, you can find unique architecture and stunning skylines providing offices for companies.
Madrid is also home to the Madrid Stock Exchange and is a favorite place in Spain for multinationals to establish their headquarters. Giants such as Repsol and Vodafone chose Madrid as a location for their home offices. Recent studies also placed Madrid in sixth place worldwide for banking cities and ninth in terms of stock market capitalization.
Madrid is the second most populated city in Europe after Berlin, the capital of Germany. The unemployment rate in Madrid has remained the lowest among the Spanish cities, around 5% below the national average for the past decade.
The city has also been experiencing an influx in the number of foreign residents: by 2012, approximately 15.5% of people living in Madrid were born outside of Spain. Madrid is a popular pick for many expats with the main opportunities being found in language instruction, IT, finance, skilled labor, and engineering. Even during and after the recession, the capital of Spain has demonstrated one of the highest numbers of jobs available for both local and foreign workers in the European Union.
If you are thinking about joining the Spanish workforce as an expat, intern, or business visitor, keep in mind the following tips.
First of all, Spanish people are known to be very laid-back and friendly, which is definitely reflected in their work habits.
Do not be alarmed if your Spanish colleague holds your gaze a bit longer than an average person-- it is pretty common and not considered rude.
Spaniards work 40 hours a week just like most employees in the world, but they might take longer lunch breaks and arrive a tad (15 minutes) late to work or meetings. They also enjoy engaging in small talk before meetings as an icebreaker.
If you speak Español, you are definitely at an advantage. However, it is highly recommended that you consult with locals or a dictionary, if you speak any dialect or slang different from the one spoken in the region you are visiting. The Spanish language is extremely diverse, and many words have multiple meanings across regions.
Apply now to The Intern Group's award winning programs and then chance intern in international business in Madrid!