Finding a job in Santiago

Working in Santiago
Updated 2020-02-27 08:34

Chile is a country which is very developed in some ways, such as infrastructure, and very underdeveloped in others like poor customer service and government bureaucracy. You need to be able to finance yourself for at least a year to gain any toehold. Even for Chileans, finding a job in Chile is hard. However, sometimes a qualified foreigner may get a job that an equally qualified Chilean won't be entitled to because the common perception is that foreigners are often better professionals than Chileans.

That being said, hard work alone is not enough to gain access to ample opportunities. As a result, you will have to work on building a network and pitutos, or business connections.

Where and how to look for work in Chile

Many students are coming out of university with expensive degrees and a fair amount of debt, but yet they can't get jobs. For example, there are too many vet students and not enough job positions to fill once they graduate. It seems to be different, though, in the technical trades. Trade unions in Chile have said at least 600,000 technical professionals are needed in fields ranging from construction to mining in the world's top copper producer. So if you have a specialised profession and you speak Spanish, you may have a job waiting for you in Chile.

To break into the job market, you will need pitutos which are business contacts. Many jobs are not even advertised because a business would rather hire someone who is recommended than an unknown person.

Also, several expats have found it hard to make friends in Chile (real friends) as Chileans tend to be very family-based and often place most of their energy there rather than on new friendships. That being said, it's not impossible. Try joining a group activity such as language exchanges, dance classes, or a sports team. 

Whether you have a job before arriving in Chile or not, it is best to have some extra money set aside to live on while you are job searching and making friends because, in Chile, it is all about who you know and who they know!

How to find a job in Santiago

Below are a few ideas to keep you afloat if you need to make money while you are job hunting in Santiago.

Black Rock Pub, Flannery's, Fiddlers, California Cantina, Hard Rock Cafe, and the Shamrock all hire foreign staff and bartenders. If you work at one of these places, you can also use it as an opportunity to learn Spanish, a necessary skill to work successfully in Chile.

Casting Calls in Santiago is often looking for expat actors, models, and extras. You can find them on Facebook.

If you have a TEFL, CELTA or TESOL certificate, many schools and institutes need teachers. The pay might not always be what you expect, but it can be a great way to establish yourself in Santiago. If you find the right institute, you can work a full schedule with one place. If not, you can put together a schedule between various institutes and/or fill in gaps in your schedule with private classes. 

If you like working with children, another option is to be an au pair. Many wealthy families in Santiago hire au pairs to take care of their children. 

Below are some links to help you find the career of your dreams. There is also a link to the Labor Directorate of the Government of Chile so you can be aware of the laws for hiring and contracts to protect yourself and your rights. Finally, there is a link to the minimum wage law for Chile.

 Useful links:

Indeed Chile Jobs
CraigsList Santiago
Santiago Jobs Glassdoor
Direccion del Trabajo
Minwage Laws for Chile

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