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The worrying unemployment rate in Spanish psychologists

The worrying unemployment rate in Spanish psychologists

August 4, 2022

Psychology is a field of study that since ancient times has interested the human being. University studies in this branch of science tend to have a high demand : there are many psychologists who graduate each year, and many more who begin their studies in this career.

However, not everything is simply love for theoretical knowledge; although in some cases it is done only for intellectual interest or for other reasons, the vast majority of university students are being trained with the purpose of being able to carry out a work activity in a field that interests them. Unfortunately, the entry into the labor market once completed the studies does not offer so many outlets for professionals of psychology, especially after the economic crisis that began in 2007.


The worrying unemployment rate of Spanish psychologists has raised the alarm both in students and in people with training in the field who are unemployed or who see limited their options to change their place of work. It is a situation that affects a large number of professionals who do not find a space in which to exercise their profession in a dignified manner.

  • Related article: "Why study Psychology? 10 points that you should value"

Studies and the labor market: disparate situations

If we observe both the academic world and the labor market, it is possible to notice the existence of a great disparity in the relationship between supply and demand. While university education in psychology is in high demand and universities have responded to it accordingly, in the current labor market the situation is complex and it does not offer so many alternatives to the professionals of the sector.


This leads to the existence of a high competitiveness when it comes to obtaining the job , practically requiring the realization of training in the form of several postgraduate and master's degrees in order to stand out from the large number of competitors that may arise for the same position ... and sometimes even this way no important progress is made in the form of employability. Perhaps the only branch of Psychology in which this does not happen is the organizational one, very oriented towards Human Resources.

Although fortunately within psychology there are multiple areas in which it is possible to specialize, which causes some sectors to have a more tight demand relationship, the vast majority of professionals have great difficulties finding a job .

The situation of Psychology in Spain: unemployment

The work situation of psychologists in this country, especially in the field of mental health, is paradoxical. And is that in Spain there is a great social need for psychological care , a need that is increasingly greater and more evident. It is estimated that one out of every four people will have some type of problem that requires psychological attention throughout the course of their life (especially anxiety and mood disorders).


Spain has approximately 4 psychologists per 100,000 inhabitants , four times less than the European average (estimated at 18 per 100,000). This figure is totally insufficient to account for the need for professional attention of the population. This causes that there are large waiting lists in public health to receive psychological treatment, while only 128 new public places have been offered annually, with a large number of professionals.

The result is that Many patients are in need of recourse to private practice if they want to get to exercise or receive treatment.

Although in other areas away from the clinic the situation is somewhat better, there are a lot of job offers in the field of Human Resources and the world of the company, this trajectory tends not to be the favorite of students who start the race university in Psychology

Evolution of unemployment among psychologists

In recent years the situation for psychologists has improved slightly, observing a small increase in hiring during the month of February of this year compared to the month of January or last year. However, this does not imply that the problem is solved.

According to data from the Public Employment Service (SEPE), it is currently estimated that about 12,152 registered professionals are unemployed . There is a clear improvement compared to 14,088 last year or 16,800 in 2014, but the situation remains critical.

You also have to take into account the difference between graduates and graduates.The changes in educational matters suffered by university education with the implementation of the Bologna plan led to the emergence of the Degree in Psychology, university education that allows obtaining the title of psychologist. However, it is possible to observe that at present there is a tendency for graduates to have a higher employment rate than graduates. Low the unemployment rate among graduates and raise the graduates , although this may also be due to the shorter time in the second market.

Also, the fact that the Master's Degree in General Health Psychology and the professional practice of clinical psychology outside this master's degree or the PIR training system would be outlawed (although professionals who met certain conditions were allowed to obtain an accreditation that allowed them to continue practicing professionally), it caused a higher performance to be necessary and competition in order to be able to practice as professionals in the health sector (the most demanded).

Another problem that professionals of psychology usually find is that even if they manage to find job offers linked to their professional sector, this employment tends to be temporary . Thus, job insecurity is a constant concern in this sector, as in other professions related to the world of health.

New political measures are necessary

From what has been seen, it seems that the drift of the labor market will not be enough to offer a minimum employment rate that satisfies the demand. Structural changes are needed to find a way out in the medium term, because the future of a whole generation of psychologists at the national level is at stake .


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