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  • Writer's pictureAlejandra Bernard

Living and Working in Portugal: A Guide to Top Careers, Salaries, and Visas

For seasoned professionals seeking a vibrant career change and an idyllic European lifestyle, Portugal extends a warm welcome. Beyond its captivating beaches and charming villages lies a flourishing economy ripe with opportunities for experienced talent. Let's delve into the dynamic professional landscape, uncover rewarding career paths, and unveil the secrets to fulfilling expat life in this sun-drenched haven.

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What's the Average Salary in Portugal?

The average gross annual salary in Portugal is around €34,800. But that's just the average. Some fields offer much higher salaries, with specialties like:


Average Salary

General Directors (Private Healthcare)

€120,000 - €150,000

Chief Information Officers (CIOs)

 €110,000 - €140,000

Commercial Directors

€100,000 - €150,000

Software Engineers


IT Specialists


Digital Marketers

€35,000 - €45,000

Note: These are approximate ranges and salaries can vary depending on various factors.

What's a Good Salary in Portugal?

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"Good salary" in Portugal is a subjective term, depending on your lifestyle, career goals, and location preferences. Here are some factors to consider:

Cost of Living

Portugal boasts a lower cost of living compared to many Western European countries. You can comfortably live in Portugal (outside of Lisbon and Porto) on a salary between €30,000-€40,000 per year. Housing, groceries, and transportation are generally more affordable than in major cities like London or Paris.

Individual Needs and Aspirations

Are you a single professional seeking a vibrant social life in Lisbon? You'll need a higher salary to cover entertainment and dining expenses. Are you a family prioritizing a slower pace and outdoor activities in the Algarve? A moderate salary might suffice.

Career Field and Experience

Salaries in Portugal vary significantly across industries

Tech professionals, doctors, and financial analysts typically command higher salaries than those in hospitality, retail, or agriculture.

Experience plays a crucial role too

Senior-level positions often offer significantly higher earnings compared to entry-level jobs.

Personal Priorities

Do you value work-life balance and flexible hours more than a high salary? Portugal's relaxed culture and family-friendly policies might make a moderate income feel more "good."

Are you career-driven and aiming for financial independence? A higher salary might be essential to achieve your goals.

Here are some general guidelines

  • €30,000-€40,000: Comfortable living in most areas, especially outside major cities.

  • €40,000-€60,000: Enables a more luxurious lifestyle, including dining out, travel, and hobbies.

  • €60,000+: Considered a high salary, opening doors to a premium lifestyle and financial security.

Remember, "good" is relative. Use your priorities and cost of living estimates to define a salary that allows you to thrive in Portugal.

Top English-Speaking Jobs in Portugal

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For skilled professionals with their sights set on the sun-kissed shores of Portugal, the good news is: that your English can be your golden ticket! Many exciting opportunities await English speakers in various sectors, offering a chance to live the Portuguese dream without language barriers. 

Let's dive into some top picks:

Software Developers

Portugal's booming tech scene needs your coding prowess. Build websites, apps, and innovative solutions – your skills are in high demand, with salaries exceeding €45,000.

IT Specialists

From network administrators to cybersecurity experts, IT specialists keep the digital world humming. Your expertise translates to salaries of around €40,000, with growth potential.

Digital Marketers

Reach a global audience with your online marketing magic. Portugal's businesses need your skills to navigate social media, SEO, and content creation. Expect salaries ranging from €35,000 to €45,000.

Customer Service Representatives

Friendly communication and problem-solving skills are key. Help Portuguese and international customers with inquiries, and your smile (and fluent English) will be rewarded with salaries of around €30,000.

Tourism Guides

Share Portugal's rich history and hidden gems with English-speaking visitors. Your passion for the country and storytelling skills can lead to exciting tours and salaries of around €25,000.

English Language Teachers

Pass on your love for the language to eager Portuguese students. This rewarding career offers flexible hours and salaries of around €25,000.

International School Teachers

If you have teaching qualifications, Portugal's growing international schools need your expertise. Salaries can reach €40,000 and above, depending on experience.

Freelance Writers and Translators

Put your English skills to work remotely, writing articles, translating documents, or even creating content for Portugal's thriving digital nomad community.

Start Your Own Business

Portugal welcomes entrepreneurs. With your fluent English and local knowledge, you can launch a business catering to tourists, expats, or the Portuguese market.

Navigating the Portuguese Job Market

So, you're ready to chase sunshine and career dreams in Portugal. But beyond the stunning beaches and delicious food lies the practical matter of securing a job and, if necessary, a proper visa. Here's your guide to navigating the Portuguese job market, specifically for US, UK, and EU citizens.

Job Hunting Tips

  • Brush up on Portuguese: Basic language skills go a long way in making a good impression and showcasing your commitment.

  • Network like a pro: Attend industry events, connect with professionals on LinkedIn, and reach out to companies directly.

  • Tailor your CV and cover letter: Highlight your skills and experience relevant to Portuguese companies.

  • Apply early: Portuguese companies often hire well in advance.

  • Use job boards: Check sites like Net Empregos and Indeed Portugal.

Working Visas for EU, UK, and EU Citizens

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The good news is that navigating work visas as a US, UK, or EU citizen is relatively straightforward compared to other countries. Here's a breakdown:

EU Citizens

No visa is required! You can freely live and work in Portugal thanks to freedom of movement within the EU.

  • Register with SEF (Foreigners and Borders Service): This is a simple process to obtain a residence certificate.

US and UK Citizens

  • Highly-skilled worker visa: Ideal for those with in-demand skills like tech, healthcare, or finance. Requires an employment contract from a Portuguese company.

  • Investor visa: Invest in a Portuguese business to gain residency. Minimum investment amounts apply.

  • Starting a business: Become an entrepreneur and open doors to a visa. Requires a business plan and investment.

Important Resources

Conclusion: Living and Working in Portugal

Portugal isn't just a vacation destination – it's a thriving hub for talented professionals seeking sun-kissed shores and exciting career opportunities. From top-paying jobs in tech and healthcare to customer service roles and education opportunities, your English fluency can open doors to a rewarding life under the Portuguese sun.

Lagos Homes is your reliable partner for all your real estate needs in Portugal. We go beyond helping you find your dream property, offering expert guidance across all aspects. Do you have any inquiries? Feel free to contact us now!

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