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Finding Work in Portugal

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The Job Market in Portugal

It may be relatively easy to find casual and temporary jobs in Portugal in the tourist industry, finding employment for skilled workers presents more of a challenge.

  • Typical problems encountered: there are a growing number of graduates in Portugal, making it a competitive job market. In 2006, close to 72,000 graduates entered the labour market and at the end of 2007, nearly 40,000 graduates were registered with the Portuguese Public Employment Service Job Centres in Portugal.

  • How to improve your chances: research the job market thoroughly so that you have realistic expectations.

  • Language requirements: as a UK national, you will probably find it a challenge to get a job at any level in Portugal unless you speak Portuguese, particularly in occupations requiring contact with the public. Portuguese language courses are run in Portugal by many Portuguese institutions and organisations such as CESA Languages and the Eurolingua Institute . A knowledge of other languages, such as English, Spanish, French or German, may be an advantage, particularly in tourism.

Where can I work?

  • Major industries: tourism, property and business services, hotel and catering, public services, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, energy and water provision, retail.
  • Recent growth areas: call and contact centres and shared services centres.
  • Shortage occupations: seasonal jobs in the tourism, hotel and catering sector; in the health sector - doctors (in various specialisms), and to a lesser extent nurses; in the information technology sector - engineers, analysts, programmers and software and hardware technicians.Major companies: Re/Max Portugal, Deloitte, Martifer, McDonalds, Accenture, Pricewaterhousecoopers, Real Seguros/Real Vida Seguros, Libtery Seguros, Mafre, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft.
  • Search for more companies:
    • Kompass
    • British Portuguese Chamber of Commerce
    • Portuguese Chamber of Commerce and Industry
    • Guianet
    • Europages
    • Portuguese Yellow Pages (Paginas Amarelas) (in Portuguese and English)
    • Paginas Brancas (Portuguese White Pages) (in Portuguese and English)
  • Major cities: Lisbon (the capital and largest city), Porto, Vila Novo de Gaia, Amadora, Braga, Almada, Coimbra, Funchal.

What’s it like working in Portugal?

  • Average working hours: the maximum legal working week is 40 hours. The working day may be quite long, as it is common to include an extended lunch break or siesta.
  • Holidays: annual leave entitlement is 22 days, plus 13 national public or bank holidays and one council public holiday. Holidays are mainly taken during August, which leads to some factory ‘shut downs’.
  • Salaries: the statutory minimum wage (retribuição mínima mensal garantida, RMMG) increased by 5.7% in 2008 to €426 per month and will rise by a further 5.6% to €450 in 2009.
  • Tax rates: tax and national insurance amount to total deductions of around 25%.
  • Working practices and customs: all employees receive a bonus of one month’s salary in June and at Christmas, so in effect they are paid 14 times their monthly salary each year.

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