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Where are the available workers?

There are surplus workers who could move to the EEA in the following occupations:

  • secondary education teachers (in various subject areas);
  • economics, management and other business science graduates (including accountancy);
  • social sciences and humanities graduates (psychologists, social services staff, historians, etc.);
  • professionals in the field of marketing, advertising and sales;
  • professionals in various areas of engineering and related areas (civil engineers, mechanical engineers, architects, chemical engineers, electronic engineers, etc.);
  • in the health sector: pharmacists, radiology technicians, laboratory technicians and physiotherapists;
  • in the tourist sector, hotel receptionists, restaurant managers, travel consultants and technical staff;
  • in the information technologies sector.

These occupations have language skills involving at least English and/or French. Some ability to communicate in Spanish exists. This ability is generally obtained informally.

There is a good deal of mobility in other less skilled occupations, in the building, manufacturing (especially electrical engineers, electricians and installers), hotel and catering (especially serving staff), commerce (e.g. retail sale staff), cleaning services, personal services (e.g. home helps), administrative and transport and logistics sectors (such as heavy goods vehicle drivers). but the language skills here, if any, are generally elementary.

Text last edited on: 03/2017

Where are the available jobs?

Although unemployment remains high in virtually all occupational groups, a few workers are still required in the following occupations:

  • in the Information and Communication Technologies sector (particularly informatics engineers with very specific specialist profiles);
  • in the health sector (doctors with various specialisations);
  • in the tourism, hotel and catering sector (which is almost entirely seasonal, i.e. summer): cooks, waiters and bar staff;
  • in the agricultural sector (seasonal employment), particularly fruit and vegetable picking;
  • in the Call and Contact Centres / Business Support Centres and Shared Services Centres sector (covering administrative, human resources, accounting and management supervisory functions), some professionals with very specific linguistic skills which are difficult to find in Portugal.

In offers from bodies in the Business Support Centre sector, knowledge of Portuguese is not necessary, since the working language is the native language and during preliminary training in companies the language needed is normally English. In other positions, language skills in Portuguese are essential, particularly in occupations requiring contact with the public. A knowledge of other languages, such as English, Spanish, French or German, may be an advantage, particularly in tourism.

Text last edited on: 03/2017

Short overview of the labour market:

According to the INE (National Statistics Institute) Employment Survey, Portugal had a population of 10 310 400 in the second quarter of 2016, comprising 47.3 % men and 52.7 % women. 

In this same quarter, the active population was 5 161 900 and the employed population was around 4 602 500. INE figures from July 2016 estimate the rate of unemployment at 10.9 % (11.2 % for women) representing a fall of 0.7 % on the figure from three months previously. The downward trend observed since February 2016 is therefore continuing. Unemployment among young people under 25 years of age stood at 27.2 %. Youth unemployment is becoming a very sensitive issue, although it has improved in recent months. Long-term unemployment has also increased, and accounts for 56.5 % of total unemployment (the EU-28 average stands at 47.8 %).

According to the European Labour Force Survey (data for the second quarter of 2016), Portugal’s activity rate (73.4 %) is still higher than the EU-28 average of 72.9 %. The participation of Portuguese women in the labour market (70.1 %) is also higher than the EU average of 67.3 %. 

As far as new forms of work organisation are concerned, part-time work is still limited (only 9.4 % of total employment compared to 19.6 % for the EU-28), and is particularly underused by women (12.1 %) compared to the average of 31.9 % female employment at EU-28 level.

At the end of August 2016 there were 498 763 people registered as unemployed with the Employment Services, with 46.3 % men and 53.7 % women. Of these, 48.9 % had been registered for more than a year. 

Around 4 % of registered unemployed were foreign nationals. According to the figures available for mainland Portugal, there was a notable fall in their number from 26 430 in January 2016 to 19 892 in July 2016. 3 569 were EU citizens (particularly from Romania, Bulgaria and Spain), while 2 822 were from countries of Eastern Europe (particularly the Ukraine). There were also over 12 000 registered unemployed from Portuguese-speaking countries, especially Brazil (5 358) and Cape Verde (2 603).

A sectoral analysis of employed labour in the second quarter of 2016 gives an idea of the country’s employment profile: agriculture, animal production, hunting and forestry represent 7.1 % of the employed population; industry, the building trade, power and water 24.3 %; and services 68.6 %. 

The tertiary sector continues to assume greater importance, particularly vehicle trade and repair; hotels and catering (21.3 % of total employment), and public administration and defence; social security; education; health and social support services (23.6 %). 

In the services sector, vehicle trade and repair, hotels and catering created the most jobs with an increase of 49 600, particularly in the large metropolitan areas, while vehicle trade and repair registered the greatest year-on-year rise in employment in services with 23 100 more jobs in the second quarter of 2016.

Industry, building, power and water, which have been recovering since the beginning of 2014, recorded a year-on-year increase of almost 9 000 jobs, and the building sector, which has been recovering since last year, accounted for 8 000 more jobs than in the same quarter of the previous year. 

The manufacturing industry (representing 16.9 % of all jobs), which is not one of the most dynamic sectors of the Portuguese economy, has been modernising, with some industrial sectors being significant not only in terms of employment (as regards quantity and the skills required), but also in terms of their contribution to the creation of wealth in the country, particularly because they are export-oriented: 

  • information and communication technologies, with a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises developing software, for example, or working in innovative cutting-edge technologies;
  • the moulds sector in the Centre region;
  • in life sciences, the pharmaceuticals industry and the emerging biotechnology sector;
  • the automotive “cluster” (with the presence of makes such as Volkswagen, but also some component production plants);
  • electrical and electronic equipment industries.

Traditional sectors, such as footwear and clothing, have also committed to modernisation and internationalisation, resulting in some new jobs being created.

Text last edited on: 03/2017

Hot jobs:

Top 10 of the most required occupations in Portugal

1.    Waiters    (ISCO 5131)
2.    Cooks    (ISCO 5120)
3.    Kitchen helpers    (ISCO 9412)
4.    Heavy truck and lorry drivers    (ISCO 8332)
5.    Bricklayers and related workers    (ISCO 7112)
6.    Cleaners and helpers in offices, hotels and other establishments    (ISCO 9112)
7.    Manufacturing labourers not elsewhere classified    (ISCO 9329)
8.    Commercial sales representatives    (ISCO 3322)
9.    Structural-metal preparers and erectors    (ISCO 7214)
10.  Home-based personal care workers    (ISCO 5322)

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