Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Job for Life

Fancy being a Spanish Judge or maybe the uniformed porter at the Town Hall? Then you'll need to pass your "oposiciones." They're a sort of competitive examination a bit like the old Civil Service entrance examinations and they are necessary for almost any public job. Some of the jobs also require experience or specialist qualifications but without the exam you don't get in. So you'll need to bone up on being a gynaecologist first then bone up on your oposiciones.

The oposiciones are advertised through the official publications - at a national level for things like judges, at a regional level for posts such as teachers, doctors, forestry workers and librarians and at a local level for town hall jobs like local police or gardener. So, if you can't decide whether you fancy teaching in Andalucia or Murcia then you'll have to do your exams in both places. Only the national qualifications allow you to move freely around Spain. The qualifications have lots of similarities from region to region but also lots of differences - if you want to be a nurse in Galicia better start swotting up on your Gallego as well as your standard Castellano Spanish..

Imagine you've just passed your oposiciones as a youth worker in the Valencian Community. There are 100 posts available and you got top marks so you get to choose which of the posts you fancy. On the other hand if you got the 100th best mark then you go where you're sent. Take it or leave it. If you're number 101 then you only get jobs where there are temporary shortages or if someone, crushed under a bus, gives you the in. One little advantage/disadvantage to this system is that there is no interview, no selection process. As a teacher, for instance, the first time the headteacher of a school will see his or her new teachers is on the first day of term.

When you have a public post, earned by oposiciones, you're described as a funcionario. There are advantages to being a funcionario; for instance the post is yours, by law, until you retire. Sacking you is more or less impossible. You also get longer holidays and shorter working hours than the hoi poloi which is why people are willing to risk the possibility of being moved miles from home.

Once you have a job there are opportunities to move when vacant posts are advertised. Provided you have the right oposiciones you can apply and move, usually without interview. If something goes wrong, those bus injuries weren't fatal after all, no problem because your original job is still yours. Also, in some cases, if you can find someone of the same rank who wants to swop with you then you can and, if you change your mind, no prob because your original post is still yours, by law, by right, until you retire.

As soon as you are in post, even in a temporary post, you start to earn points and the more you get the more chance you have of getting a transfer. Points also bring periodic bonuses and better pay grades.

The system is starting to break down and fragment a little nowadays so ways around the system would allow a World famous Egyptian heart surgeon to work in Madrid in some sort of seconded academic post, more prosaicly a bit of rule bending finds people working on all sorts of more normal contracts alongside funcionarios. Contracting work out, like street cleaning, is another way for local Town Halls to employ people without getting involved in the funcionario process.

Oh, and don't base your career choice on what I've written here. It's true but in an article of 600 words I've had to take some shortcuts.

No comments:

Post a Comment