Scots v Spaniards – Haggis v Paella

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Scots v Spaniards – Haggis v Paella

Samantha Lister

When looking into recruiting Spaniards for our clients in Scotland I have found that the people of Scotland and Spain aren’t all that different. The Spanish maybe sport a better tan than us all year round, have a better football team and we speak a different language, but when it comes to the people I have found there are a lot of similarities.

We both have the ability to enjoy life – which other countries take any opportunity to socialise and indulge in food and drink! In Scotland as soon as the sun is out we are having barbeques and we’re in the beer gardens with shorts on, in Spain they take a 3 hour lunch to eat with family and friends and their beer is often cheaper than water!

We are both known to be very friendly and welcoming - although I can’t see Scotland catching on to the kiss on both cheek thing every time you meet someone, we’ll stick to the handshake or the bear hug!

One thing that we think is a big difference that turns into a barrier for the Scottish construction industry is the view of the Spanish work ethic.  In Scotland we often view the Spanish as laid back… This mainly appears as we are jealous that they have a siesta in the middle of the day, but now after 3 months of living here I understand why they need a siesta… it is so hot. Let’s face it if Scotland was in 30 degree heat every day we would be collapsing with heat stroke, and certainly be stopping for a siesta! What is often lost across the Atlantic is that the Spanish work until 9pm at night, so although they take 3 hours off between 2pm-5pm in the afternoon they work later than us which is their way of spending time with their family for lunch while avoiding the heat and essentially helping them make the most of the day. It helps that it is still light here until 9pm most of the year!  

So despite the differences in our countries, the Spanish could be argued as the easiest to work with in Europe! In the last three months we have seen 4 cases of innovative Scottish Companies offering a Spanish candidate a permanent job. These success stories demonstrate that despite the differences we can work together and it is proving a useful way of Scottish businesses building their teams whilst the talent shortage looms..

A leading job board recently purported that job adverts are increasing but the number of ‘applicants to jobs’ is at a record low ratio of 0.77 / advert due to the decrease in unemployment across the country. This is further demonstrating the skill shortage Scotland is and will face as the construction industry continues to grow. Using advertising in Scotland as your sole method of recruitment where construction work has already increased by 15% may therefore not give you the response you are looking for, you need a proactive recruitment strategy that explores additional methods that is going to see through the current shortage of applicants. Essentially our market has drastically improved but we don’t have the skills to support it, it’s like buying a new car and not being able to drive it! How do we address this issue? We are working on it with managing recruitment from the hardworking, educated, skilled and sunny Spain!

Contract Scotland now have 30 Spanish candidates (Civil Engineers, Quantity Surveyors and Project Managers) ready to relocate and start work within the month. All have had their qualifications cross referenced, researched their experience and spoken with their references. We have tested their English and their commitment to moving to Scotland and so it’s now up to the Scottish Construction sector to think ahead and build their team to maintain growth in our sector!

Spaniards don’t just eat Paella and sleep… just as we don’t run around in kilts eating haggis!

Samantha Lister

European Talent Finder

Contract Scotland International

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