Spain leads ‘Great Resignation’ in Europe

by Lorraine Williamson
the great resignation

Spain leads the way when it comes to the ‘Great Resignation‘ in Europe. Although many Spaniards sign a new contract every day, these are also cancelled en masse. Despite the labour reforms, each worker signs more than one contract per month on average. 

While many experts are debating whether or not there is a ‘Great Resignation’ in Spain, the phenomenon of many people resigning, there remains a clear problem in the Spanish labour market: There is a large influx of – and outflow of employees. 

Turnover in Spain one of the bigger labour market problems 

The instability of the labour market is currently one of the bigger problems in Spain. Eurostat statistics show, among other things, the turnover of workers who have just found a job and who have quit or been fired. These statistics show that Spain scores almost the highest in both categories compared to the rest of the European Union. 

Figures from the last quarter of 2021 show that 6.7% of employees were newly employed by an employer less than 3 months ago. This figure is surpassed only by Finland (7.7%). At the same time, 5.6% of workers in Spain quit their job less than 3 months ago. A figure that is much higher than in other European countries. 

Labour reforms

In Spain, a start was made in 2021 on improving the labour market. The Spanish government came up with a plan for more permanent contracts and is trying to make temporary and especially very short-term contracts as unattractive as possible, and even fine them for employers. Given Eurostat’s figures, the effect of this does not seem to have translated into an improvement in the labour market yet. 

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Small steps forward on the Spanish labour market 

This conclusion can also be drawn when looking at the duration of the newly signed contracts. The average working time was 54.68 days, an improvement from the average 51.95 days in the fourth quarter of 2019. The measures have helped when it comes to extremely short contracts (less than 7 days). These have been reduced from 1.8 million in the first 4 months of 2019 to 1.1 million this year. 

Each employee signs an average of 1.26 contracts per month. Although this is quite a lot, this percentage is 0.2% lower than was approved before the labour reforms. The number of permanent contracts handed out has increased only slightly. 

The aforementioned improvements are still insufficient to reduce staff turnover and to conclude that the implementation of the planned labor reforms will be sufficient to make the market more stable. 

Also read: Unemployment in Spain is a big exception in Europe

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