Real estate is among the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain

Tourism, real estate and the automotive sectors appear to be the markets most affected by the COVID-19 crisis with respect to job offers in these areas. 

Photo by EJ Yao on Unsplash
Photo by EJ Yao on Unsplash
20 August 2020, Redaction

The employment specialist website Jobatus has carried out a study that points out the drop in demand for professionals in certain sectors in July compared to the same month in 2018 and 2019. Tourism, real estate and the automotive sectors appear to be the markets most affected by the COVID-19 crisis with respect to job offers in these areas. 

With the arrival of the coronavirus in Spain and the subsequent declaration of the state of alarm in mid-March of this year, some professionals began to be highly demanded by the social and health context in which the country found itself.

In the health sector, logistics, cleaning and disinfection, e-commerce and food, the demand for professionals grew exponentially, leaving many other workers largely marginalised by the critical situation that other sectors were experiencing, according to data from the Jobatus portal.

In March, the number of people affiliated to social security fell by 841,000, leaving a total number of affiliates of 19,006,760. The sectors most affected were commerce, construction, administrative and auxiliary services and the hotel and catering industry. Permanent and temporary employment collapsed and unemployment increased by 302,000 people.

During the month of June, the unemployment rate in Spain stood at 14.3% and the number of unemployed increased by more than 5,000 people. The total number of registered unemployed rose to 3,862,883, an increase of 0.13% over the previous month.

Today, because of COVID-19, favourable changes have also been generated in the employment context of Spain. The promotion of teleworking has triggered the demand for certain professionals with experience in remote work and has made it possible for thousands of workers to continue working from home, avoiding widespread layoffs.

In spite of this contribution, which for many is positive, there are certain professionals who are experiencing great difficulty when it comes to entering the job market in Spain. The percentage of demand has fallen sharply and indicates the need for some workers to reinvent themselves at a working level in order to get a job.

In which sectors has the demand for professionals fallen?

1. Tourism

The tourism sector closed last year with 2.8 million workers and representing more than 14% of the Spanish GDP. Because of the coronavirus pandemic and although the Government has carried out many remedial measures, the prognosis for this sector could not be more devastating and that is reflected in the movement of recruitment in the sector.

Based on the reduction of labour activity by the large drop in demand for tourism services internationally and nationally, the sector in Spain is experiencing a drop of 84% in demand for professionals, compared to the same month in 2018 and 2019. In line with the rest of sectors, tourism is one of the most affected by the coronavirus crisis, and will cost a lot to recover.

The decrease in published offers refers to various professionals belonging to this sector such as travel agents, tourism reps, hotel administration and reception, tour guides and waiters in apartments.

2. Retail

The retail trade is the second sector in which the publication of job offers has fallen most compared to previous years, by 81%. Before the coronavirus pandemic, it was already a trade that was suffering serious difficulties.  The upward trend of consumers making purchases through e-commerce platforms has not helped the sector.

The crisis has only hastened its downfall. It is expected that many of these businesses will not survive the huge recession predicted for the country unless they invest in digitalisation. The workers most affected by this situation are retail managers, salespeople, store managers and commercial directors.

3. Real estate

The impact of the pandemic could mean that in three or four years the real estate sector will not be able to meet the demand it had prior to the coronavirus.

"As we have concluded, the pillars of the real estate market are the retail sector, residences, tourist accommodation and offices. With a recession expected to have a greater impact than the one that already existed in the country, some of these properties could take longer to be in demand than others", Jobatus says.

The demand for professionals related to the real estate market has fallen by 77%, reducing on a large scale the published offers of advisors, salesmen, real estate agents and commercial secretaries.

4. Hospitality industry

The hotel and catering sector in Spain is currently made up of more than 300,000 companies. 70% of these are self-employed or businesses with less than 3 employees. Moreover, it is a sector that works with minimum profit percentages, 6%, a figure that is below the average of other national sectors, 16%. This indicates nothing other than its vulnerability to any economic crisis that may emerge in the country.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the overall predictions for this sector could not be more discouraging. The future of the country's restaurant and hotel industry has been strongly affected by the coronavirus crisis, which has generated a major economic aggravation that substantially compromises the businesses belonging to this area.

Due to this business context and the state of the tourism sector, the offers published by businesses dedicated to the hotel and catering industry have been reduced by 72% compared to the previous two years this July. In this sense, the reduction in published offers has mainly affected waiters, bar managers, office staff, dishwashers and kitchen staff.

5. Construction

The construction industry, according to the data obtained, has suffered enormous economic losses due to the work stoppage it experienced because of the coronavirus crisis. Although the stoppage lasted only 10 days, from 30th March to 9th April, once working activity resumed, production was cut by 20% and at the end of April it was reduced by another 10%.

The job losses in the sector predicted for 2020 indicate that the construction industry will lose 67,000 jobs due to the pandemic and the overall losses of the sector will be around 8,800 million euros, according to data from Jobatus.

According to this situation, the demand for workers in the construction industry in Spain has decreased by 65% in relation to the same period in the previous 2 years. The cities most affected by this situation have been Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga and Alicante as they are the ones with the highest construction activity in the country. The decrease in published tenders is especially detrimental to construction officials, labourers, bricklayers, technicians and salesmen.

6. Administration

One of the preventive measures against the coronavirus that the government imposed in mid-March was for both companies and employees to work remotely. In this way, potential coronavirus contagion was prevented among workers. Working remotely has greatly benefited companies and workers, with economic and time savings, as well as family reconciliation as the main benefits.

With this employment alternative, workers have not only gained in quality of life but have also experienced an increase in their work performance. This has led to a 37% increase in productivity during the same working day, which means that the hiring of new workers has decreased proportionally.

The demand for these professionals has decreased by 62%, creating a work detriment towards administrative staff, receptionists, secretaries, accountants, assistants and teleoperators.

7. Automotive sector

The automotive industry in Spain represents 15% of the GDP, provides employment to 700,000 people directly and to 2 million indirect workers. When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Spain at the beginning of the year, this sector, which was already damaged by new ecological policies regarding diesel and pollution, hit rock bottom and due to confinement was suspended. The manufacturing plants handed out thousands of ERTEs (temporary layoffs) and the forecast for this year is that some of them will end up handing out EREs (redundancies) as well. 

Based on this panorama, the published offers in the automotive sector in Spain have been reduced by 56%, leaving mechanics, sales managers, salesmen and those responsible for vehicle bodywork, painting and upholstery out of the job market.

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