The Future of Work – Spain

Click here to read this report in Spanish

The Spanish working environment

Filter the map below to see how the mood of Spanish workers compares to those in other markets:

Alongside Dutch, Spanish workers are feeling the most loved in Europe

In general, the Spanish workers surveyed feel relatively stable at work, most frequently reporting feeling calm and okay (both 34%).

A third (33%) of Spanish respondents say they feel productive and 28% motivated which is consistent across genders and aligned with other European countries.

Alongside the Netherlands, Spanish respondents are in the top two sets of markets feeling loved at work (21%). In line with this, one in five (20%) also report feeling supported.

However, feelings of frustration (18%), exhaustion (16%) and anxiety (16%) are also present, although felt significantly higher among females. Almost a fifth (18%) of the female workers surveyed report feeling anxious compared to 13% of males. Similarly, 15% report feeling overwhelmed at work compared to 9% of males.  

Despite this, engagement in work appears to be unaffected with females feeling almost equally as engaged in their work as their male counterparts; 28% of female workers surveyed report feeling motivated compared to 27% of males. Similarly, 34% of females report feeling productive, compared to 31% of males.

Reassuringly, the findings show few cases of low mood with only 12% of the workers surveyed report feeling angry and 11% sad.

Workplace culture

Men are more comfortable than women to ask for a pay rise

When it comes to their own, or their loved one’s wellbeing, a sizeable minority of the Spanish workers surveyed feel comfortable talking to their boss.

Almost two fifths (37%) of the Spanish workers surveyed say they feel comfortable asking for time off work for mental health reasons, compared to 26% who feel uncomfortable.

Similarly, almost a half (47%) feel comfortable asking for time off to care for someone else compared to 24% who feel uncomfortable.

Despite this, 17% agree that they have lied to their boss about taking time off work for mental health reasons.

When it comes to career-related discussions, the Spanish respondents are split on how comfortable they feel. While a third (32%) say they feel comfortable asking their boss for a pay rise, the same proportion (32%) feel uncomfortable. Similarly, while 33% feel comfortable asking for a promotion, 29% feel uncomfortable doing this.  

There are notable gender differences when it comes to career related discussions with men reporting higher levels of comfort. While 38% of men report feeling comfortable asking for a pay rise this drops to 28% of women. The same pattern is observed for asking for a promotion with 39% of men saying they feel comfortable doing this, compared to 28% of women.

Do Spanish workers and employers share mutual respect?

Future of work

Two thirds say a 4-day working week would positively impact their wellbeing, but is it realistic?

There have been global conversations among governments and businesses about the possibility of reducing the 5-day working week to just 4 days, and this seems to be an aspiration for a significant portion of Spanish workers.

Across the sample, almost three quarters (72%) say reducing their working week to 4 days would positively impact their wellbeing, higher than the European average (65%). Furthermore, three fifths (61%) think they would be more productive working within 4 days, indicating that workers could be more engaged and produce better work if their week was shortened.

Three in ten (31%) would even go as far as saying they would relocate to another country that allowed the 4-day working week if theirs didn’t, indicating the impact it could have on staff retention if it’s implemented. 

Despite a generally favourable view of the 4-day workweek, not all Spanish respondents see it as feasible. Almost half (46%) say they don’t know how they’d fit their workload into 4 days and over half (52%) don’t think their employer would ever go for it.

Digital transformation hopes and fears

In the last year, a rapid shift toward automation in the workplace has sparked conversations around the potential benefits and challenges for businesses and their workers. Simultaneously, businesses are increasingly confronted by a looming threat of a cyberattacks or security breaches.

Compared to other markets, Spanish workers are more likely to report concerns around automation and cybersecurity. Three in ten (31%) are worried their role could be replaced by automation compared to almost a quarter (23%) of the European average. Similarly, 32% worry they’ll fall victim to a cyber-attack at work compared to 21% across all European markets.

Despite notable concerns among the Spanish workers, there are signs of optimism when it comes to advanced technologies. When thinking about how artificial intelligence will impact their organisation, two fifths (39%) of Spanish workers think it will be a good thing overall.

Click here to find out more about the Future of Work in other countries.