Hiring in Portugal and the Future of the Workplace

People want to choose when, how, and where they work.

Updated 10.28.2021 with information on the current hiring landscape for senior tech developers.

Hiring a team takes time, dedication, and know-how, and being a part of a working team takes innovation, trust, and professionalism. That might be the only thing that hasn’t changed about expanding business across borders, as now working physically alongside your colleagues isn’t an option, nor is jumping on a flight here and there to ensure the out-of-town office is running smoothly. Luckily, most expanding companies with tech teams here in Portugal seem to be taking it all in stride, and so do their employees.

There has been fast-growing interest in Portugal as the home base for tech hubs, so many companies are jumping into the hiring game and finding that they need help. To that end, the IPBN hosted an event on Hiring and Investing in Portugal on April 28 and 30 that followed up on the April 10, online event hosted by Landing.Jobs that launched the second edition of its free Hiring in Portugal e-book as a practical guide to hiring and building tech teams in Portugal supported by entities such as IPBN partners AICEP and Invest Lisboa alongside Startup Portugal and Revista Pessoas.

There are many tried and true hiring processes companies can use to find good talent. In the case of IPBN member company Ufurnish.com, for example, Founder and CEO Deirdre McGettrick uses the help of Near Shoring Companies, which has helped them act quickly to keep up with consumer demand as McGettrick mentioned in a recent interview with the IPBN. Ufurnish has made seven quality hires in a matter of a year and a half since their January 2020 decision to open their tech operations in Portugal. According to McGettrick, “Near Shoring Companies handles all the paperwork for you, and are fully embedded into the team. They hire the candidate and lend him or her out to different companies, and it’s been so far so good on the talent that we have found. The level of English of the candidates was really a pleasant surprise.”

And it's true. Portugal is ranked 7th out of the 34 European countries according to the report by the EF English Proficiency Index. Pedro Henriques of IPBN member company Bridge In says that because the Portuguese attention has historically pointed towards the West, Portugal has a leg up. “We tend to follow Anglo-Saxon content: movies, series, etc. and I think that’s why the English proficiency is so high here in Portugal,” Henriques tells the IPBN. Recently, Henriques expanded on his statement by saying, "It continues to be a hot market as there are more global companies wanting to start things here, so that means more competition for top talent. This introduces something interesting in tech, as senior software developers are being thrown extra perks and more compensation with less thorough vetting processes and evaluation phases so as not to turn away interested applicants. Those who are asking for more from candidates are ultimately losing out."

Not only have attitudes about going offsite changed, but so has the workplace itself, especially over the last year as we have been confined to the home and are finding out just how productive we can be from home. But what will that mean for the future of the workplace, especially in the case of tech teams? According to Sharon Doherty’s article on Forbes.com, “What has become crystal clear is that people want to choose when, how and where they work. We’ve seen that growth, trust, and brand advocacy aren’t dependent on our teams being physically together.”

And it’s not just in Portugal that people are finding out the benefits of working from home. Joanne Magnan writes in The Journal.ie, “Despite the huge challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic over the past year, the shift to remote working has thrown the door wide open to an incredible opportunity for the reinvigoration of rural Ireland... [That’s why] the Irish government has launched a new rural strategy Our Rural Future: Rural Development Policy 2021-2025 which plans to revitalize rural Ireland over the next five years.”

But what does that mean over the course of the next few years for office setups and hybrid strategies? Henriques from Bridge In thinks that “The ideal setup is not totally decentralized, but somewhere in the middle (of multi-site and onsite working). Growing teams across the globe with more diversity brings value — organizations benefit from decentralized teams — but they need clusters as well to promote company culture and employee training.” 

Karen Collins, HR Business Partner at Global Shares has a similar take on the post-COVID landscape saying, “Grow Remote has been working remotely since last March and since then it has been business as usual…We are taking it step-by-step until we get to loosened restrictions. I imagine there will be a change from our 100% office setup— there will be a hybrid approach.” 

Executive Partners