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Portugal - Finding Employment

The start of 2016 saw a higher unemployment rate to the latter part of the year with the number being 10.5%. The sectors which have seen the largest contribution to the improvement in the rate of unemployment are agriculture and tourism according to Portugal’s statistics institute (INE). With a year on year increase in tourism in places like the Algarve, this sector remains the biggest expanding income and job generator for the country. Other sectors performing well are hotels and catering, textiles, forestry and fisheries, property and business services, retail, wood and cork are sectors which create jobs and remain strong industries. Biotechnology has recently seen a growth in the sector as has IT and call centres. With new aim of all season tourism, it may be that Portugal can create more jobs in a variety of sectors all year round.

In terms of unemployment in the latter part of 2016, in the south the Algarve had the lowest unemployment rates of around 8.1%, with Alentejo amounting to around 13% and Centro having similar figures. Lisbon sees unemployment rates of around 12%, and the north area of Norte has a rate of around 13%. The Azores rates were just over 12% with Madeira seeing the highest unemployment rate of the country at just over 14%. Unfortunately youth unemployment is still a problem with those aged below 25 making up 28.9% of the total of those unemployed.

When searching for jobs, people use a variety of methods such as checking local print and online newspapers. A popular site is the English language Portugal Resident, plus Jornal de Notícias and the online job portal of As ever, particularly for local jobs word of mouth is always a useful tactic in discovering work opportunities. For the most part, job seekers have a look at job listing websites, and recruitment agency websites with some going into their offices to register in person.

Recruitment agencies

Take a look at the Portuguese Yellow Pages to find employment agencies near to the area you live in (section pessoal temporário and pessoal recrutamento e seleção.) Agencies will offer a range of contractual, temporary, seasonal, permanent, full time and part time jobs.

Adecco, Porto
Address: Rua Santa Catarina 1535, 4000-458 Porto
Tel: + 351 225074640

Michael Page International, Lisbon
Address: Avenida Liberdade 180-A, 1250-146, Lisbon
Tel: +351 21 041 91 00

EMA Partners, Lisbon
R. Rosa Araújo 30, 1250 Lisboa, Portugal
Email: online form
Tel: +351 21 351 38 90

Randstad, Faro
Rua Dr. Justino Cumanus, 358000-333
Tel: 289 887 660

Online job sites

Jobs in Lisbon - Jobs for English speakers in Lisbon.

Top language jobs - Site for speakers of other European languages such as German, French and English.

Reed - International online job portal.

Oneworld365 - Specialist in volunteering opportunities, courses, travel, jobs and courses.

Emprego - Online job site which has training and work listed for job seekers plus headhunting.

Learn4good - Job site listing English speaking jobs in many different sectors.

English Portuguese Jobs - Online job site for bilingual speakers of Portuguese and English

The Portuguese Public Employment Service (Instituto do Emprego) displays job vacancies as well as listing advice on finding work.

EURES Job Mobility Portal for EU workers

Remember when applying online please attach your CV and covering letter so that the documentation required of you will differ per company. For the interview, take original documentation, references, certificates and all forms of identification. European Higher Education Area qualifications are recognised but if you have qualifications outside of the EU it could be worth getting your certificates validated to work in Portugal via NARIC (the National Academic Recognition Information Centre.

Handing your CV to businesses face to face, electronically or in the post can help you to secure a local job especially, if you are able to speak Portuguese. For larger multinationals finding a person to send your CV and cover letter to unsolicited is a good way of making yourself known. Have a look at the Portuguese White Pages (Paginas Blancas) and the Portuguese Yellow Pages (Paginas Amarelas) and use them to look up a company’s details.

There are many large multinationals who regularly recruit English speakers. Well known examples are Portugal Telecom, Millennium PCP, Nokia, EDP, Samsung Media Capital, Accenture, Deloitte, and Critical Software. In previous years unless working for an international or multinational corporation, in tourism or teaching English it would have been a challenge to find work as a foreigner who does not speak the local language. However many more opportunities have opened up now with an influx of roles in tourism, call centres and real estate. To work in a Portuguese company and for more local jobs, the local language must be spoken.

As with undertaking work illegally in any EU country the same penalties apply. The worker could face fines, penalties and deportation or even a ban from the country they were illegally working in (depending on the circumstances). By working illegally the employer can face hefty fines and a criminal record. Under no circumstances should an individual consider working illegally in Portugal not only is it against the law but it is dangerous for the worker as they usually have little to no rights and can face exploitation.

Networking and business groups

British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce (Câmara de Comércio Luso-Britânica)
Networking and business official group for individuals plus small to large businesses.

Portuguese Confederation of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (Confederação Portuguesa das Micro, Pequenas e Médias Empresas) CPPME
Networking and business group for individuals plus small to medium businesses.

Confederation of Portuguese business (Confederação Empresarial de Portugal)
Association of businesses in Portugal and abroad connecting trades associations and advising and representing the businesses interests.

Portugal Global (AICEP)
Government created agency specialising in foreign investment and trade with worldwide networking.

Professional Women’s Network Lisbon (Portugal) via PNW Global Professional women’s network
International one to one, online and group networking events and professional development for women.

Lisbon Female Entrepreneurs
Networking group for individual specialists with events and talks

You can find the regional business associations in Portugal here.

Read more about this country

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