Portuguese GDP is expected to grow by only 2% in 2023 due to the global economic and geopolitical situation. The country’s unemployment rate was around 6% this year. Portugal has a statutory minimum wage, which is set at around €760 per month (2023). IT Is not hard find jobs in Portugal, it is Hard to find a good wage.
Jobs in Portugal
The ease of finding work in Portugal will depend on:
- Your profession
- Your experience
- Your degree
- If your profession falls under the regulated professions:
- Your level of language skills
- Your connections and relations in Portugal
The problem is not finding a job, but the salary. It’s not hard to find a job in the tourism sector (especially in the summer) or in a call center for jobs that require native English speakers, but with a minimum salary of just over €900 and an increasingly lower cost of living (especially high rents) in major cities, survival becomes problematic.
If you really fall in love with the country and want to work in Portugal, one option could be to work in a call center, take a Portuguese course (many companies offer it for free to their employees) and then, once you have learned the language, look for a job that better suits your academic background.
In any case, even if you have learned the language, you must have special skills or a good degree (e.g. in STEM) to find a well-paying job, otherwise you have little chance of earning a living.
If you are a low-skilled worker with no special training and you do not know Portuguese, you do not stand a chance, but even if you do, I am not sure you can make ends meet with the salary. Without knowledge of Portuguese, the only option may be seasonal work in agriculture. During the fruit or vegetable harvest, for example, the demand for labor is very high, and since there is a shortage of local workers, many hire foreigners who do not know the language. However, they should know that it is hard and poorly paid work.
One of the good things about Portugal is that there is no racism or discrimination against foreigners, so you will be treated like a Portuguese when looking for a job.
The greatest job opportunities are in the capital. Lisbon has more than half of all the jobs in the entire country. Most national and international companies operating in Portugal have their headquarters here. In any case, if you want to work in Portugal, you must first register with the Portuguese employment office, which should theoretically find you a job that matches your qualifications.
Most in-demand jobs in Portugal
The most in-demand jobs in Portugal are in the following fields:
- Tourism, (hotels, restaurants, bars, etc.)
- BPO, (call centers, customer service, etc.)
- Construction, (bricklayers, carpenters, etc.)
- IT, (web developers, cybersecurity, etc.)
- Healthcare, (doctors, nurses, physical therapists, etc.)
- Seasonal agricultural sector, (harvesting, olives, etc.)
Work culture in Portugal
The work culture in Portugal varies depending on the company, in young companies there is a more informal attitude and hierarchy is limited. In more traditional companies there is much more bureaucracy and hierarchy also plays an important role in the workplace.
Portuguese work culture is based on working to live, not living to work, so the pace of work tends to be relaxed and each employee takes their holiday at the agreed times.
Jobs in Portugal, conclusion
Is it useful to find a job in Portugal today? I think that in general it can be worthwhile if you like living in a place where the sun shines every day of the year or almost every day, where there is almost no crime, where the gastronomy is not bad and where the people are welcoming and friendly.
The only real problem is the salary level, which is quite low compared to other Northern European countries. So, if you have good qualifications and your profession is one of the most demanded professions in the country, you can try to move without any problems. On the other hand, if you do not have qualifications that are interesting for the Portuguese labor market, you will have to adjust to a call center, and if you do not have other alternatives, you can embark on the adventure of having a temporary work experience in this fascinating country.
For those interested in working in this country, I recommend reading the guide Work in Portugal