The Railway, an innovative and attractive sector for employment


Europe is firmly committed to an efficient, connected and emission-free transport model. The planned investments in infrastructure from the Recovery Funds will be largely aimed at boosting the railway, which aspires to be at the core of of sustainable mobility. In Spain, the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda will also use this year 2021 a budget of 6.2 billion euros to modernise, strengthen and expand both the passenger and goods network.

Economic growth in the coming years will be associated with a sustainable recovery and will be based on three strategic engines that will combine new technologies, digitalisation, and human capital. The goal is to be the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Due to the high emissions currently generated by transport, this is one of the areas where most changes will take place.

Within this model shift and, due to its many environmental, efficiency and safety advantages, the railway will be the key. During this process it is very necessary to have professionals to help implement new developments, strengthen innovation, and move towards the digitalisation of the industry. The progress on green mobility will be linked to the creation of jobs in all subsectors, in addition to the incorporation of new profiles specialised in sustainability, environment, blockchain, telecommunications, cybersecurity, opertors, auxiliary staff, new construction modelling technologies, etc. All such fields have great employment prospects, alongside? with human resources management, corporate social responsibility, or digital marketing, among others.

The challenges are multiple, and it is necessary to have professional profiles that contribute their qualities, specialisation, and know-how to the development of the railway.


Attracting talent

One of the challenges facing the railway industry is the training, development, and career plans within the companies of the many professionals who will join in the coming years. To a large extent, the ability to have the best market profiles in companies will depend on the attraction and retention of talent so that they consider that working in a leading industry with a great future is the best option.

This is part of a holistic process in which various proposals are combined so that employees want to develop their future in the company and feel involved with its evolution and progress: attractive conditions and identification with the corporate philosophy, etc.

To spark the interest of working in an industry with great growth prospects, it is key for prospective employees to feel that talent and effort are taken into account. Companies must combine not only remuneration, but a competitive “emotional salary”, life-work balance initiatives, options to participate in innovation projects, constant training, etc. In addition, candidates are increasingly considering environmentally responsible companies which operate and commit themselves to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this regard, the human resources policy is valued for being inclusive and because equal opportunities, intergenerationality and the quality of employment prevail.

In order to achieve these goals, both, companies and transport administrations, will have to be able to retain employees and provide the entire human capital with a value proposition. This value proposition should be one where each professional feels it is the place where they want to work and develop their career in a stable way: a quality job that provides numerous benefits and where they see a future to advance and grow.

In this regard, it is also key that the sector consolidates the image and projection it currently has as well as its world leading position. Likewise, it must continue to apply all the advances at their disposal in order to be more innovative, productive and have a consolidated organisational structure.


Professionals who want to join a sector are within a very favorable context. Alongside the opportunities that will arise in the industry, there are growth plans already taking place. Within its 2030 Strategic Plan, the Railway Infrastructure Manager (Adif) and Adif High Speed has launched the largest public employment offer.

There will be almost 62,000 vacancies until 2025 in order to meet the demands of the railway service. This employment plan is the response to the new challenges such as generational change, railway liberalisation, and the extension and improvement of network services, among others.


One of the aspects that is most valued by employees when being part of a company is the possibility of growing within the organization and having support to continue their professional development.

The candidates value quality proposals and companies that have training plans in those areas that are most demanded to be up to date with the most relevant advances in the sector.

Investment in continuous training is essential to strengthen the workforce and have a highly qualified human capital, according to the demands of the market and with the ability to provide a differentiating value both, to customers, and to the infrastructure projects that are developed. From the workforce point of view, these plans promote employee satisfaction, increase their integration, and allow them to move forward. In this way, its development is enhanced and the perceptions of stagnation that can lead to the search for other options in the market are avoided.

In the railway sector, the training provision is very wide. The companies have bonus schemes, as well as advanced courses in railway schools for driving, in auxiliary tasks, and specialized master’s degrees in a wide range of segments.

Corporate culture increasingly tends to be based on each employee’s motivation to meet their career aspirations and address their needs.

Specialised Masters
Future professionals in the sector are looking for a specialised training offer. Institutions, agencies, and universities work closely to provide specialisation plans according to market demands. Mafex, for example, collaborates with the
University of Cantabria, through LADICIM – Laboratory of the Division of Materials Science and Engineering – in the
Master of Railway Engineering that has the participation and business experience of the industry of the sector, as well as various railway entities at a national level. This initiative was born to respond to one of the strategic challenges of the association: the attraction of talent to the sector, the incorporation of knowledge from other non-railway businesses or the specialisation of employees from Mafex member companies.


The field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), is increasing every day, particularly having  the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The commitment of companies in the railway sector to the 2030 Agenda and its 17 points is reflected, in the field of employment, in the adoption of measures in line with the different SDGs: 3 “Health and Well-being”, 5 “Gender equality”, 8 “decent work and economic growth”, 9 “Industry, innovation and infrastructure”, 11 “Sustainable cities and communities” and 13 “Climate action”. Advances in these fields contribute not only to being a responsible company with its environment, but also to strengthening the brand image and consolidating the desire of professionals to work in a responsible company.


The image that the employer projects on people interested in joining a new project is becoming more and more important in the final decision of the candidate. It is a determining factor in attracting talent. The railway industry has an international reputation closely linked to its capacity for innovation, a great expertise of its professionals and its own know-how based on R&D and the development of transport projects of special importance around the world.

In addition to this cutting-edge image and the interest in being part of the companies in the sector, the “employer brand” factor is also taken into account. The factors that influence this corporate image are associated with values and business philosophy. Among them, transparency, collaborative spirit, integrity, equality, commitment to society, safeguarding of the well-being of employees, relationships with suppliers and customers, etc. Employees need to identify with the mission of the company and have a “sense of belonging” to a group with which they feel identified. This set of values will enable a greater affinity and it will also make the likelihood of that professional wanting to develop their career in the company much higher.

It will also make companies have the best “brand ambassadors”, their own internal influencers who will expand the knowledge and reputation of the company.

“The corporate culture of railway companies increasingly tends to be based on the motivation of each employee to meet their career aspirations”.


In line with developments in employment, the railway industry is very committed to diversity and equal opportunities. A pluralistic staff, formed by multidisciplinary teams, helps to strengthen productivity and business results, since it brings the best talent towards the same direction.

One of the great challenges is to make progress in the incorporation of women into the railway sector, both in operational and auxiliary tasks, as well as in engineering and senior management positions.  According to data from Adi, they currently represent 22% of the workforce in the field of transport. In order to be able to implement the change on these percentages, measures such as work-life balance or flexible working hours being established. To attract the best talent, companies are aware that candidates are looking for inclusive organisations, where there is room for qualified professionals, regardless of gender, age, race, or sexual orientation.

Within the concept of “employer brand”, the candidates value the coherence of the company with its human resources policy and real equality of opportunities.