Major Social Issues
3. Child poverty
Unemployment is a big issue in Spain, and has been for the last forty years. Following a decade of a building boom, Spain was hit by the financial crisis in 2007, which was fuelled by both Spanish and foreign speculation. The real estate burst led to a stagnated economic growth and a rise in unemployment. The general unemployment rate currently stands at 26.38 percent while youth unemployment stands at 53.8 percent, the second highest in Europe.
Organizations in Barcelona, work tirelessly to come up with solutions to the issue of homelessness which stands at an estimate 3000 evictions and rising rent prices continue to add to the problem. For the newly homeless, temporary accommodations and government housing are viable options, often preventing them from being swallowed up by the shelter system. Of the homeless in Barcelona, around 940 are living on the streets, with a further 900 in shelters or hostels. Little change has been noted in these figures since 2011.
Spain currently, has the EU’s third highest child poverty rate, right after Romania and Greece, reported by EURACTIV. According to UNICEF, after the economic crisis, child poverty has been on rise in wealthy countries. The proportion of children in Spain, who live below the poverty line, increased by 9 percent, and between 2008 and 2014 had reached almost 40 percent. A major factor that is contributing to child poverty is the high number of people who remain jobless for more than two years. UNICEF has highlighted that large and or single-parent families and teenagers suffer the most from the effects of poverty. The growing number of impoverished children is putting more pressure on a social security system this is already struggling with one of the fastest aging populations in the world.
Need to know phrases
When visiting a foreign country that doesn’t speak your language, whether it’s for vacation purposes or business, it is good to know a few phrases in the native tongue.
Here are a few phrases that can be helpful to you:-
1. ¡Hola!/ Buenos días (Buenas tardes/noches) – Hello! Good morning/afternoon-evening/night.
2. ¡Salud! – Cheers!
3. Encantado (if you’re male, or Encantada if you’re female) – Pleased to meet you.
4. Puede hablar más despacio, por favor? – Can you speak slower please?
5. ¿Hablas Inglés? – Do you speak English?
6. Claro – Of course.
7. ¡Déjame en paz! – Leave me alone!
8. ¿Cuánto te debo? – How much do I owe you?
9. ¿Cuánto cuesta esto? – How much does this cost?
10. ¡Cuánto tiempo! – Long time no see!
Protocol and Etiquette
Life in the Workplace
While in the workplace, one must display a high level of professionalism. While on the job, you should not use the company’s telephone to make personal calls, especially during work hours.
Use of email
Professionals operate in a professional manner in the workplace, especially when it comes to business email communications. When you use your email, company email or any technology belonging to the employer, is a very serious issue. When on work or otherwise, you should not be sending non-business related emails as it shows a lack of professionalism. When using the internet, never assume you are nont being monitored. Visiting websites that are questionable or not relevant to your job responsibilities displays untrustworthiness.
Use of Business cards
Before handing out business cards, make sure they are printed in both English and Spanish with one on each on either side. You should also hand your card with the Spanish side facing the recipient.
It is important to always begin negotiations after you have developed a personal relationship and built a certain level of trust with your Spanish counterparts. In order to build a solid working relationship, you should begin with general a discussion on matters and make sure you all are caught up with each other on a more personal level. For the business matters to be discussed during a meeting, it is important to follow a set agenda so that the discussion does not stray too far from the topic. You should ensure that your presentation is clear and that everyone in the meeting is able to follow and understand the discussion. Spain is a hierarchical country and final decisions are always made by the most senior managers in the company. This is the way of doing business in Spain and everyone is affected by it, so you should not let yourself feel disadvantaged. Once both parties involved have reached an understanding of all the commitments and implications and a verbal agreement has been made, a full contract can then be made and circulated for review and approval within an acceptable period of time.
In the workplace, it is very important that you dress in a manner that demonstrates professionalism. One should dress with elegance and use only top-quality materials in subdued colors.
It is recommended that men wear dark woolen or linen suits and silk ties along with white cotton shirts. Spanish weather can be very hot so it is usually acceptable to wear lightweight suits, to loosen one’s tie and throw one’s jacket over one’s shoulder. Women are advised wear well-cut suits or dresses made of high-quality fabrics. In general, Spanish women are expected to avoid drawing too much attention to their physical sexuality and instead express themselves through their immaculate clothes and hair.