Working Worldwide: Attracting Talent in Barcelona

As far as attracting talent goes, there is no better backdrop than Barcelona. An international hub that hums with energy, Barcelona’s fast-growing startup scene, low cost of living, and …

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As far as attracting talent goes, there is no better backdrop than Barcelona. An international hub that hums with energy, Barcelona’s fast-growing startup scene, low cost of living, and cultural hotspots make this city one of the most ideal places to live and work in the world. Internationally recognized for having a high quality of life, Barcelona is currently attracting talent in droves. The influx of new employees from outside Spain is a direct result of the industries that flourish in Barcelona. If your company is working on attracting talent in Barcelona, we’ve detailed some of the city’s fastest-growing industries. 

Startups and Technology

The recession hit Spain hard, but Barcelona has rebounded in a big way: startups. Regarded by Cushman and Wakefield’s “Winning in Growth Cities” as one of the biggest technological hubs on the planet, Barcelona has seen explosive growth in brand-new businesses and ones with an IT bent. Part of Poblenou, the neighborhood 22@ attracts 500 new businesses a year. Since its inception in 2012, 22@ has seen the addition of 12,000 new jobs, which is a wide fraction of the 95,000 in the district. Bstartup, Sabadell Bank’s program designed to help entrepreneurs, has invested 69.2 million euros in startups in the last two years alone. Combined with the city’s work-hard, play-hard culture of minimal stress, maximum results, and Barcelona is ideal for a young entrepreneur.

Research and Education

While startup culture is transforming Barcelona’s economy, the city has an incredible series of universities. From the Universitat de Barcelona to the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, the city is filled with students knee-deep in everything from Miguel de Cervantes to physics. According to the Financial Times, business schools IESE and ESADE are among the top ten European business schools. In fact, IESE is included in the top eight in the world, per the The Economist.  The commitment to education has become its own industry, as more researchers and health and wellness professionals choose to make Barcelona their permanent home.Attracting talent in Barcelona appears to have led to great things. In fact, in 2016, the Catalan Biomedical Center now makes 5% of the Catalan GDP. Barcelona-based Aelix Therapeutics has promised 11.5 million euros for the development of a vaccine against HIV. Another Catalan research team from the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Barcelona discovered the protein that allows tumor cells to twist into cancer. With these gains, it’s clear that the city has managed to gather some of the brightest minds in the world to solve problems. 

Innovation and Industry

Attracting talent in Barcelona is made easier by the city’s popularity with other countries, as well, and of course, the boom in Barcelona isn’t all in startups and research. Larger companies are getting excited about this city, too; like Nissan, who just last year built a European Event Center dedicated to presentations and training activities. Nestlé, the chocolate kingpin, is creating a Global Digital Hub in Barcelona—and 70 jobs. Hema, the Dutch furniture company, opened its first-ever store and office in Barcelona. These companies have seen the city’s potential and value. 

Lifestyle Barcelona

Of course, if you’re concerned with attracting talent in Barcelona, the jobs themselves can’t mean everything. For many, the work itself is the most important reason to move—but the quality of life is the most important reason to stay. Barcelona is awash in an incredible culture that juxtaposes the city’s ancient past with its tech hub present. With one of the most-beloved basilicas in the world operating a few miles from some of the best nightclubs, the city holds a place for people from all walks of life. A useful, easy-to-use metro system that connects the main city means Barcelona is easy to get around. While relatively high for Spain, the cost of living is low compared to other large cities. Also helpful is the sprawling international airport, which links Barcelona to the rest of Europe with a few short flights. Many people, in fact, commute a few days a week or even one week out of every month, going back and forth between Barcelona and their home city. Barcelona is also great for families: one of its schools is poised to adopt the International Baccalaureate curriculum, and many more feature English immersion classes. Barcelona’s size and flexibility ensure that it has something for everyone.

Barcelona is climbing the ranks in the top international hubs, with its fast-growing startup scene, research opportunities, innovative businesses, and, of course, the enviable lifestyle. If you want to focus on attracting talent in Barcelona, then the city’s bright future is a great card to play. 

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