How to Make Money and Find Jobs in Tenerife and the Canary Islands

Updated on February 7, 2018
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I live on Tenerife where I write about the island's news as well as locations you can visit there.

Making Money Is Not so Easy

Many British people, and other nationalities too, come to Tenerife, or want to come to the island, thinking it will be easy to get work there. A lot of these people also have grand dreams of running their own businesses to make money in the Canary Islands.

The reality is very different and a lot of Brits find that it is not as easy as they thought and many have to give up and go home because they have run out of money and have been unable to find a way of making money on the island on a regular basis.

Running a bar in Tenerife has become almost a cliché and that tells you how difficult it really is because the competition is fierce. So many other people have had the same idea of making money from bar sales that the resort areas are full of bars, bar restaurants, and cafés all in competition with one another.



Work Available in Tenerife

Buying and running a bar in Tenerife is not recommended as an investment of source of income. The hours are very long, the rivalry fierce and the often there simply are not the numbers of customers around to make it feasible.

There is no guarantee at all that you can keep earning enough with a bar unless you have really made a good name for your place and can give customers value for money and a reason to choose your bar instead of any of the many other ones.

For the bars that do run successfully, bar staff are needed and also PRs who help entice customers to come in and spend their money. These jobs can be found in the resorts but in general they don't pay a lot and can mean long and anti-social hours.

Due to this a lot of younger bar-staff don't stay long and because of the rapid turnover vacancies occur. To get a job in a bar, like just about every other job on Tenerife, you will not get it unless you are already on the island.

People who expect to find work on Tenerife, whilst still in the UK, do not stand much chance at all of finding a way to make money on the island. The way to get jobs on Tenerife is to be on the island and make sure you have enough money with you to live on until you find a source of income and to go around actively looking for work and giving out your CVs to potential employers.

This also applies to chefs, compères, and entertainers, all of which do stand a chance of getting work but not unless they are actually already on Tenerife.

Live Music in Tenerife

Entertainers, such as singers and DJs, have to approach the people who run the venues on the island and show them what they can do by offering to do a free spot. If the owner likes you and sees that the crowd do too then he or she may well take you on.

Most singers, who get billed as "live music" generally sing over backing tracks on mini-disc. Musicians playing instruments and bands are a real minority in the resort entertainment sector. Singing is a way of making money on Tenerife but most singers need a lot of gigs to get by.

The audiences in the live music venues in Tenerife resorts are mostly holiday-makers and these people want to hear pop songs they know and love and as close to the original sound as possible. Many acts specialise in performing covers by a particular star such as Neil Diamond or Elton John. Phil Gibson is a singer who specialises in performing soul music and R&B.

Phil Gibson

Phil Gibson on stage at Flicks Bar. Photo by Steve Andrews
Phil Gibson on stage at Flicks Bar. Photo by Steve Andrews

Fluency in Spanish

Of course, there are vacancies for painters, plumbers, electricians, labourers, drivers, cleaners and plasterers, but, as with so many jobs on Tenerife, preference is usually shown to local people.

People born on Tenerife speak Spanish and this is very important to employers. Unless you are running a business that is only providing services for English-speakers then you are sure to have Spanish-speaking customers.

Fluency in Spanish and English will give anyone who is looking for work on Tenerife a far better chance of finding a job than those who only speak English. In the north of Tenerife, you would have almost no chance of getting a job unless you speak Spanish.

Fluency, or at least a basic ability in German, French, Italian and other European languages will increase your chances of getting employed too. Many employers need multi-lingual staff and vacancies are often posted specifying this.

Sales and property dealing are other areas where there is more work in Tenerife. Having said that, a lot of the sales work is commission based so unless you get sales you will not earn.

Jobs for carers, home-helps, and au-pairs sometimes become available but again fluency in Spanish would help secure these jobs.

Many people on Tenerife find that they have to do a combination of jobs and odd jobs to get by and make the money they need to pay rentals and living expenses.

People not living on Tenerife may get the impression that everyone on the island must be leading a life of leisure and pleasure in the sun, but in reality very many people on the island work very hard and for very long hours to make money.

Tenerife Internet forums and radio stations post vacancies and are a recommended place to look to see what is available and to leave your own details in case a potential employer sees them.

Tenerife is a wonderful place to live but finding a way of making money there is essential. Good luck job-hunting if you intend doing so!


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    • Tenerife Islander profile image

      Steve Andrews 2 years ago from Tenerife

      Good luck finding something!

    • profile image

      Miroslav 2 years ago


      I am loking for a job in Tenerife as kitchen porter in Hotels.

      Kind regards,Miroslav.