How to Hire Employees in Portugal: From Those Who Know

The Ups and Downs of Hiring Talent in Portugal

The IPBN is continuing to explore what it takes to find talent in Portugal for employers who are looking to expand into the region or build off-site teams to support their HQs. We began our coverage of the topic focusing on the Tech field, beginning with our Hiring and Investing in Portugal Event on April 28 and 30 of 2021. We spoke to representatives from three different IPBN member companies: Founder and CEO Deirdre McGettrick of Ufurnish.com, Pedro Henriques of IPBN member company Bridge In, and Karen Collins, HR Business Partner at Global Shares to get their insights into the arena of hiring in tech, but now we are tackling a broader spectrum of employers who have been through the process. 

When asked how difficult it was to find employees in Portugal, IPBN member Ricardo Pereira, a partner at Athalfuns remarked that in his experience it had been “very hard when you need qualified people or people looking to develop a career, [however, it is] easy when you look for unqualified people for a short term period.” Teresa Taveira, Talent Acquisition Specialist at IPBN member company Craftable Software added, that “ Currently, there are more opportunities than candidates and all are enticed by companies to accept a new challenge. In this sense, I would say it is a challenge to hire, but the secret is to know how to attract and retain these people.” She added that companies looking to hire in Portugal should “offer good professional challenges, promote their professional and financial progression, and be competitive in the benefits [they] offer.”

Taveira said, that theirs is “a very competitive market, where you need to know how to recruit.” Therefore, many companies turn to recruiting services and career services at local universities, depending on the position they are looking to fill and the required experience level. According to Pereira, Athalfuns has established protocols with universities for internships that have helped them find talent here in Portugal. “We practice a full season recruitment for these interns, and furthermore, when required, we do our own advertising and headhunting,” he told the IPBN. 

There are many employment listing sites in Portugal for those looking to find their next job. Sites like NetEmpregos and EmpregosOnline, among others, are services that job hunters can sign up for and receive personalized selections of job listings specific to their chosen sector. These range from retail associates to more seasoned managers at larger tech, advertising, and even financial services companies, but as Taveira mentioned, the competition can be fierce. LinkedIn, and sometimes Facebook and Instagram are other tools that can benefit those seeking employment, as can job boards on specific networking sites, like the one found on the IPBN’s website

Pereira told the IPBN that Athalfuns has hired 13 applicants who are currently working in Elvas. He described their level of talent as “all needing a long period of learning, even the headhunted [applicants]. Only 30% - 40% have met our expectations and from those, 50% have exceeded them.” Taveira explained that “currently, Craftable Software has about 45 employees with different nationalities [who are] working in different parts of the country, but also around the world. The current trend has been to hire more Portuguese people not only because of cultural and physical proximity, or other facilities but also because of the quality of the delivery. Portugal invests a lot in education and has very good Universities. In addition, the Portuguese, in general, are endowed with an immense ability to learn and speak other languages, with a high number of fluent in English, French, and Spanish.” 


In terms of advice for international companies looking to hire Portuguese talent, Taveira noted that “it's not easy to hire good IT professionals in a market as competitive as we have today [and] it is difficult to manage and retain people who work at a distance and who don’t create emotional ties to the company. When the motivation is financial, it is very easy for an employee to leave a project for a new challenge where he earns more. For this reason, I would say that it is always “safer” to look for a partner who can guarantee the recruitment and monitoring, who knows the Portuguese market, in order to not compromise the project.” In a sense, Pereira agreed. He advised those looking to hire Portuguese talent to “go with those over 35 years of age and head-hunt those who have spent more than five years working for the same company. Don't go for diplomas over acquired knowledge.”