In 2018 chemicals, including pharmaceuticals (but excluding plastics and rubber products), became the second largest industry in Spain, accounting for 13,4% of manufacturing gross product. It generated value of about €20 billion on sales of €65 billion – outpaced only by the massive food, beverages & tobacco industry.
The chemical industry continues its consolidation as one of the key sectors in the Spanish economy. This sector comprises over 3,300 companies with a turnover of over 65,7 billion euros and generates 670,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs. The Spanish chemical sector is a key sector in advanced economies, hence in the Spanish economy. Its activity directly and indirectly generates 5.8% of the national GDP, and it employs 3.5% of the active occupied population.
Furthermore, the quality of the employment results in high tax contributions by the companies and workers in the sector, as their income tax and social security payments account for over 20,000 euros per employee per year. Two factors continue to be crucial for the future of the chemical industry: its export capacity and its innovative leadership. In the first case, the sector is now the economy´s second-largest exporter, and 57.5% of its production goes to foreign markets.
In the area of innovation, the chemical sector is the leader in investment and expenditure in R&D&I and also in research staff employment.