Working Abroad in Portugal

Working Abroad in Portugal

The mention of Portugal will elicit images of bathing bronzed bodies, succulent cuisine and vibrant and colourful culture, but what would it take to survive there? Unless you've been saving up money for your Portugal tour, you’re going to be on the look out for a source of income while abroad. 


There are a few approaches that can be adopted when one is trying to secure a sustainable living situation in Portugal, but one of the first filters that employers use to weed out new hires is related to language skills. Before you begin your research into finding employment in Portugal, be honest with yourself about your Portuguese language skills, or your dedication to learning a new language. 

The most orthodox route would be to get a long term job, be it in one of the major industries like agriculture, hospitality, property or public services or in one of the up and coming sectors such as telecommunications, IT, biotechnology and the medical field. Another option would be to snag a gig in tourism services, where positions are seasonal and employers are more than likely accustomed to high turn over rates. Another approach to finding work in Portugal is to teach English at an organization or school. 


Long Term Positions

Portugal’s job market was hit fairly hard during the recent economic recession and the unemployment level at the end of 2010 was 9.5%. Opportunities will be located in major cities like Lisbon and Porto, but competition for positions not only between other graduates, but local and foreign applicants will be high.  In order to be considered, you will either need to have superior Portuguese language skills, or be fluent in English with a very valuable skill set and a willingness to learn Portuguese. 


An average work week will be about 40 hours, and although wages vary, minimum wage earners will earn about €475 per month, though most earn above €700. The typical workday is usually from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, with a two hour lunch break. A few job sites that can help you locate a job include Superemprego, Correio de Manha, Expresso, Manpower and Ofertas-Emprego.


Seasonal Work


The great thing about high turnover jobs is that they are usually fairly easy to learn, so even if you don’t have tons of previous experience, as long as you are committed to learning quickly, being resourceful and are able to adapt to new environments and responsibilities- a seasonal job by the sea side might be the perfect fit!

Though long-term jobs may seem almost impossible to acquire, finding employment as a seasonal employee is much more plausible in industries like tourism and hospitality.  Employers in this sector are highly accustomed to high turn over rates that come with the industry, making them more understanding when it comes to hiring foreigners. Positions in bars, clubs, hotels and restaurants offer possibilities for those who aren't fluent in Portuguese, but have great English skills, as well as any other additional languages. These jobs will also give you the chance to work in a fun, lively environment that is more than likely also located in a stunning environment. Whether you have skills to work as a photographer or bar tender in a popular nightclub or as a chef in a seaside café, seasonal positions are a great way to live sustainably in Portugal. Who knows, if you do a great job as a seasonal employee and prove yourself as valuable team member, you might be able to stay on for in a long term position.


Teaching English


One other approach to finding a way to financially survive in Portugal without spending months saving up money, is to teach English! If you’re thinking of applying get those applications in June and July when the academic school year ends and other teachers will be moving on to other opportunities and openings will arise. Teaching English is a rewarding and enlightening chance to spread your knowledge to others, even though a fair number of the students will be attending your class out of obligation. Organizations such as International House Portugal and ESL Base will help you find legitimate schools to teach at. 



With the massive flux into a cyber world, many applications will be available online, but that doesn't mean that the importance of having printed copies of your resume has become obsolete. When you go in for an interview, a printed copy of your CV or resume will help increase your professional appearance, for examples and tips, you can check out this site Eurograduate – Working in Portugal. It is also recommended to call a company prior to interviewing so that you can introduce yourself and make an impression that will help you stand out from the rest.



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22 February 2020
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