8 minCountry Reports

Hire Portugal Remotely: Lisbon, the Remote Hiring Kingdom


Hasan AbdullahAugust 28, 2023


Have you ever thought of remote hiring? The trend is clear: the world is embracing remote work. But with the world at your fingertips, where exactly should you begin your talent search? Worry not, for HireBasis is on hand to illuminate the path.

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Our methodology is straightforward yet incredibly efficient. We evaluate countries based on three fundamental criteria. Firstly, English proficiency is gauged on a scale of 1 to 10. Then, we analyze the cost of living to determine wage affordability. Lastly, we delve deep into the nation's technology literacy level. We've journeyed through continents in our quest for remote talent, and now, Europe beckons once again! Prepare to be captivated by a country known for its sun-drenched coastlines, rich maritime history, delectable pastries, and an ever-growing tech community.

Hold onto your hats, folks, as we steer you towards the land of Fado and football... Portugal!

A) Introduction to Portugal

Tucked away on the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal is a goldmine of vibrant history, mouthwatering cuisine, and sun-kissed beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see. With a spirited population of over 10 million, this southwestern European gem is often overshadowed by its larger neighbor, Spain, but don't let its size fool you! Portuguese, the official language, is spoken with a melodious cadence that echoes through its bustling cities and serene countryside. And here's a little secret for the globe-trotting shopper: while the dollar might make you feel powerful, in Portugal, it's the Euro that reigns supreme. So, if you're thinking of getting that delicious Pastel de Nata or sipping on some refreshing Sumol Ananás, remember to check the latest exchange rates, and dive into the rich tapestry that is Portugal.

B) English Proficiency (30% weight) 9.5/10

English proficiency in Portugal has been steadily improving, particularly among the younger generations. This is due to several factors:

  • Education System: English is a mandatory subject in Portuguese schools from an early age, often beginning in primary education. This gives students a solid foundation and many years of exposure to the language. Many university courses, especially post-graduate and doctoral programs, are offered in English as well.
  • Tourism: Portugal is a popular destination for English-speaking tourists. Major cities like Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve region frequently welcome English-speaking visitors, necessitating many locals in these regions to use and understand English regularly.
  • Media Consumption: A significant portion of media, including TV shows, movies, and music, is consumed in English. Unlike in many other European countries, foreign TV shows and movies are usually subtitled, not dubbed, in Portuguese theaters and television. This regular exposure helps in enhancing listening skills and comprehension among the Portuguese. According to the Education First (EF) English Proficiency Index, Portugal has been ranked 9th out of 111 countries when it comes to English speaking skills! This means that Portugal has a very high proficiency in English and therefore we will give Portugal a sweet 9.5/10 in English proficiency!

C) Wage Affordability (40% weight) 7/10

Here’s where Lisbon truly shines: wage affordability. The method we use to determine wage affordability is by taking the cost of living in the United States Capital, Washington D.C., which has a somewhat typical cost of living for a major US city, and comparing it to the cost of living in the capital city of our target country, which in this case is Lisbon. Based on the cost of living and purchasing power in both cities, we can gauge how affordable it is to hire people from Portugal. To execute this, we use Numbeo.com’s cost of living calculator which contrasts the cost of living in various cities. According to Numbeo’s tool, a yearly salary of $100,000 in Washington D.C. would equate to the local purchasing power of a yearly salary of about... brace yourself… $54,336.38 in Lisbon, assuming that you pay rent in both cities. That’s significant savings! With these figures in mind, Lisbon secures a solid 7/10 in wage affordability.

Now, let’s delve deeper by considering the necessary expenses that employers must shoulder to legally provide salaries to their workforce. We utilized OysterHR’s hiring calculator to estimate the costs of hiring in our selected cities and juxtaposed this to the cost of hiring someone in the US using the Quickbooks Employee Cost Calculator. An employee earning $50,000 per annum in Washington D.C. will have an overall cost to the employer of $53,825, while an employee with an annual salary of $27,168 in Lisbon will cost the employer approximately $42,901. This makes one ponder the advantages of exploring the talent pool in Lisbon. If you’re as intrigued as I am by these figures, then you might want to head over to Hirebasis.com, to discover your next superstar from Portugal! A side note to consider: the “Oyster fee” is what OysterHR charges to act as your employer of record. This fee typically stands at about $700/mo, but it's noteworthy to mention that this amount dwindles to merely $29/mo if the worker is onboarded as an independent contractor.

D) Technology Literacy (30% weight) 9/10

Let's see how well Portugal does in technology literacy. Recently, Portugal has witnessed a notable transformation in its technology landscape and innovation ecosystem. The country is progressively positioning itself as a tech beacon in Europe. With the government taking the lead, there's a clear emphasis on digital literacy and the enhancement of the IT infrastructure, aiming to cultivate a society that's both inclusive and technologically advanced. Their strategy resonates with nationwide efforts like Startup Portugal, which lays down the roadmap for Portugal as a global startup hub.

At the foundational level, Portugal has prioritized tech education. Initiatives have been launched at school levels to introduce coding and digital competencies, ensuring the upcoming generation is tech-ready. Furthermore, revered Portuguese universities, such as the University of Porto and the Technical University of Lisbon, have been trailblazers, offering robust programs in engineering and technology. This undeniably bolsters technology literacy among the youth.

The technological momentum doesn't just stop with the youth. The evolution of the digital economy and tech-centric businesses in Portugal has spurred many adults to hone their digital skills. Whether to upscale in their current roles or pivot to tech-driven jobs, there's a visible enthusiasm for digital learning. Institutions offering coding bootcamps, online courses, and specialized training have proliferated, responding to this growing demand. On a global scale, the Digital Skills Gap Index (DSGI) placed Portugal 29th, with a score of 6.3. This impressive ranking bestows upon Portugal a commendable 9/10 on the HireBasis Technology Literacy scale.

E) Overall Remote Hiring Score: 83.5

Portugal has established itself as a formidable contender in the global arena, exhibiting strengths across diverse criteria. Its impressive English proficiency, amplified by an education system that mandates English learning from early years and consistent interaction with English-speaking tourists, earns it a meritorious 9.5/10. Lisbon's economic allure lies in its wage affordability, showcasing remarkable savings for employers when compared to U.S standards, granting it a 7/10. Simultaneously, Portugal's digital literacy surge is clear. The government's unwavering commitment, accompanied by passionate adults eager to embrace the digital tide, grants it a robust 9/10. To sum it all up, these scores propel Portugal to an 83.5 on the HireBasis scale, underscoring its strategic importance for businesses and tech aficionados worldwide.

F) Fun Facts

And now, to finish off our exciting in-depth analysis of Portugal, we’ve prepared some interesting fun facts for you! Did you know that Portugal is home to the Bertrand Bookstore in Lisbon, which has been in operation since 1732. Recognized by the Guinness World Records, it's the world's oldest running bookstore! Bibliophiles, take note!

Or that Portugal produces more than half of the world's cork? Next time you pop open a bottle, there's a good chance the cork came from the expansive cork oak forests of Portugal. Moreover, the country has innovative uses for cork, from fashion items to architecture!

Or that Portugal can boast about having the first global empire. Its explorers, like Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan, were key players in the Age of Discovery. In fact, the Madeira Archipelago in Portugal was the site of the world's first commercial airline landing in 1919!

From books to bottles to brave explorers, Portugal is indeed a treasure trove of delightful surprises! Stay tuned for more treasure that we will be putting out very, very soon!

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