How to find a job in Lisbon

Updated 2023-11-05 11:09

Lisbon is Portugal's capital and also the largest city in the country. Furthermore, it is the richest metropolitan area in the country and the main center of business, manufacturing, trade and other economic activities. If you're trying to find a job in Portugal, you won't have it easier than in Lisbon!

Top industries in Lisbon

The services sector remains the main employer in Lisbon — offering over 80% of job opportunities in the region. This includes public services, social security, banking, tourism, advertising and marketing, hospitality and catering, health services — and more.

The field that has experienced the biggest increase in job offers in recent years (aside from tourism) is, as one might expect, technology. This includes job opportunities in IT, computer science, data analysis, network security, and more. Other areas with growing demand include finance, public administration and business consulting. On the other hand, tourism has experienced a boom over the past decade, with new hotels, hostels and other tourism-related businesses lurking from every corner. However, tourism is probably the most precarious industry in the city, consistently running on low wages and with companies often requiring unpaid extra time (which is illegal).

If you want to work in mass media, television and communication, Lisbon would also be the best place to start. The city is home to Portugal's biggest TV and radio stations, newspapers, media corporations, and more.

Job opportunities for expats in Lisbon

As you can see from above, there are several key industries where expertise is always required in Lisbon.

Expats looking for a job in Lisbon will have lots of opportunities in the tourism and service sectors, although they will probably be guided onto a back-office role in case they're not able to speak Portuguese. Still, knowing a foreign language or two aside from English can come quite in handy and give you an edge over the competition.

The tech industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country, so should you have relevant knowledge and proper training/qualifications. There should be no problem finding a position. This has been further enhanced by the fact that Lisbon has been consistently hosting the world-famous Web Summit over the past few years. If you are looking to break into the tech industry but don't have the needed experience, consider applying for an internship at one of the many tech startups in Lisbon. There are currently a few government programs that actually pay the company to employ interns, helping them gain the necessary experience to enter the labor market independently after the internship is over. The most famous program is called from IEFP, and is widely used by companies from a wide range of sectors.

Over the past few years, there has also been a surge in job opportunities for customer support centers. In many cases, Portuguese isn't even required at all, and you can get by with speaking English exclusively (though a second language is a major plus). The biggest companies that currently have call centers in Lisbon include Connecta Group, Teleperformance and Sitel. If you speak Portuguese, you can also try your luck with the likes of NOS, MEO or Vodafone, although wages and working conditions are usually subpar.

If you are looking for a job in an international company, Lisbon would also be the best city to try your luck. Here, you will find offices of Google, SAS, Microsoft, Deloitte, Kimberly Clark, Diageo, Cisco and many more.

Lisbon is home to Portugal's biggest universities, including Universidade de Lisboa. This opens up lots of options if you are looking to build a career in the education industry. If you are looking for a job in the ESL industry (teaching English as a second language), you will also have a good chance of getting hired in Lisbon. The city is home to a decent number of language schools and training centers — check out for a full list of language schools in the country. That being said, keep in mind that competition is quite high, and you will need to have relevant qualifications to apply for vacant positions. This includes a TEFL certificate and a degree in education or any other relevant field.

Knowledge of Portuguese can be a definite advantage during your job search. If you plan to stay in Lisbon for the long term and plan to advance your career here, consider enrolling in a language course.

How to find a job in Lisbon

In a big city like Lisbon, there are lots of different ways to look for a job.

The first thing you should do is make sure your CV and cover letter are fully updated to reflect your experience and expertise. This is essential for an effective job search in the city, and you should have your CV ready to respond to job offers. You may also want to take the extra step and create a Portuguese-language version of your CV. This can help you apply for more job offers and will make it easier for the HR manager to evaluate your application.

It's also a good idea to update your professional social media, such as Linkedin. Include all your latest work experience, expertise and achievements. You may also indicate in your profile that you are looking for career opportunities in Lisbon and update your current location to Lisbon as well. This will make it easier for headhunters and hiring managers in Lisbon to find your profile.

Another way to go about your job search in Lisbon is to send out your CV and cover letter directly to companies in your field of work. This is especially suitable for Lisbon — as Portugal's capital, the city is home to the head offices of numerous multinationals, key state organizations, media corporations, and more. Once you've narrowed down the list of companies you are interested in, you can go on to visit their websites, locate the Careers or Jobs sections, and see if there are any openings available that might suit you. Alternatively, you may find HR contacts via the company's website or LinkedIn and contact them about current or possible future opportunities.

If you are a high-level professional with a lot of experience in your field, you may contact a headhunting agency in Lisbon. Once they have your information and know what you are looking for, they will keep your profile on file for any openings in your area of expertise.

Naturally, you can also search for job offers online. You can start by looking through international websites like Monster, Indeed, Hays, and others, while the most popular job-hunting websites in Portugal are, and Sapo Emprego. For job offers for English speakers located in Lisbon, check out If you are looking for a language-related job, look through offers on

If you are a citizen or resident of an EU country, you can check the European Job Mobility Portal (EURES) — a platform designed to facilitate the movement of workers throughout the EU.

Networking is also a great way to expand your pool of opportunities in the city. So, if you are looking for a job offer, make sure to keep your eyes open for professional conferences and events in your field.

Visa requirements for working in Lisbon

If you are a citizen of an EU/EEA country, you can work in Lisbon without a visa. You will, however, need to apply for a Portuguese residence permit. You can do so at the Portuguese Immigration Office in your region.

If you come from a non-EU/EEA country, you will probably require a visa to visit Portugal and work here. In most cases, you will first need to obtain a work contract and then use it to apply for a work permit via a Portuguese embassy in your country.

Finally, if your line of work qualifies for it, you can apply for a digital nomad visa, though the Non-Habitual Tax Residents (NHR) scheme, which provided great tax benefits, is being scraped in 2024.

Keep in mind that having all proper documentation and working legally will protect you from malicious employers and preserve your rights.

Work culture in Lisbon

Portuguese workers enjoy a traditional 40-hour-a-week work schedule, which usually comes down to an eight-hour workday. Per year, there are also 14 public holidays and a minimum of 22 days of annual leave. Workers report it can be hard to manage a work-life balance due to sometimes having to work longer hours than anticipated. However, Portugal does have a strong culture of family, with recent government reforms allowing more time for parental leave for new parents. Moreover, all workers in Portugal, even part-timers or freelancers, pay into tax and social security, which are deducted from your pay. After a period of working and paying taxes, you are protected by the Social Security system, and you become entitled to an unemployment fund in case you are laid off from your job. All information about this can be found at Autoridade para as Condições do Trabalho (ACT) and Segurança Social.

The work culture in Lisbon can also be quite social, with businesses and colleagues often enjoying work lunches together. Unlike in neighboring Spain, Portugal does not usually follow the siesta culture, so businesses and shops are still open during the afternoons.

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