The world today is undergoing a large scale shift towards a digital economy, with areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, and Data Science transforming companies and governments at large, and this is having a huge impact in the talent needs to support this change.
With the ever increasing number of successful startups and mature tech businesses in Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and other cities in Spain, it is important to know what are the skills that are in most demand in the market. According to ElConfidencial there are 300,000 developers in Spain. However, a number of reports claim there is still a large gap in the market for these roles. Silicon.es refers to a report by e-show stating that there is already a shortage of over 100,000 workers with digital and technology skills in Spain.
StudentFinance, a fintech company that partners with digital & technology education programs and finances their students’ education through Income Share Agreements, has done an analysis of the “Top 6 Emerging Technology fields” in the Spanish market. This list includes Web Development, App Development, Data Science, UX/UI Design, Cybersecurity and Blockchain.
There are as of today 7,492 job openings in those emerging technology areas published on Linkedin alone. The largest field is App Development with 2,408 jobs available in Madrid, and 1,673 in Barcelona.
How Is The Spanish Tech Ecosystem Addressing The Technology And Digital Skills Gap?
One solution to address this ever increasing Skills Gap is to attract international talent moving to Spain. A report by the Boston Consulting Group ranks Spain as the 8th “most attractive” country in the world for technology workers to relocate to, behind France and Switzerland. This makes it easier for the high quality of life in Spain, and the tapas and sangria culture. The same report on a “city level” ranks Barcelona as the 5th most attractive city in the world to attract international tech talent.
Encouraging more women to enter the field would also help. In Spain, 70% of Tech workers are men. Only 30% are women. Some institutions, such as Universidad de Granada are developing initiatives to remove this gap, but still a lot of work is needed to achieve a balance.
In addition, in recent years we have seen the emergence of Coding Bootcamps, where Spain is one of the leading countries in Europe with a large number of such programs, including Ironhack, Le Wagon, Wild Code School, SkyLab Coders, Ubiqum, Neoland, TheBridge, UXER, and many others operating campuses in the country. These “schools” offer education programs in areas such as Web Development, Cybersecurity, UX design and Data Science, training people to secure the skills to work in these areas in as little as 10 weeks in duration. Companies such as Cabify rely more and more on graduates from these programs to fill their tech roles.
What About The Salary Levels For The Different Skills Tech Companies Are Looking For?
With such strong demand for these skills, salaries can go up to €100,000 for senior profiles equipped with Cybersecurity or Artificial intelligence skills.
StudentFinance´s analysis shows that Data Engineers in Barcelona command the highest median salaries in the market – €40,000, followed by Data Scientists with a median salary of €36,000. Madrid’s values are slightly lower, with €35,000 and €32,000, respectively.
For Web and App Developers there doesn’t seem to be differences between the two largest cities in Spain, with a median salary of €30,000 for Full Stack Developers, €27,000 for Front End Developers, and €26,000 for Java Developers.
The average salaries for graduates from the country’s Coding Bootcamps, which claim employment rates of over 90% (or 96% in the case of SkyLab Coders), range from €18,000 – €25,000.
Overall, the country’s talent landscape presents many opportunities for people to advance and develop, but poses challenges for companies who are all “fighting” for the best talent. We will see in the coming years, in particular with the emergence of coding bootcamps whether we manage to reduce the skills gap, by training more people in the digital skills that companies are demanding today.
Mariano Kostelec is the founder of StudentFinance, a Madrid-based Fintech company that is solving the Skills Gap with AI-powered Income Share Agreements. He is also the founder of Uniplaces, the largest student rental platform in Europe.