The most common question in Facebook groups is "How much money can I make in Portugal?" Of course, if you are arranging to move to Portugal, it is essential to understand approximately how much you can earn in your field if you plan to work in your specialty. As in any country in the world, even within the same thing, you can get a salary that will differ many times over. For example, a doctor who works in a distant village and a doctor who works in a fancy private clinic in the city center. I think you understand that in such matters, a lot will depend on your value as a specialist, resourcefulness, and luck for sure. Nevertheless, in this article, we will look at the national averages so that you have a realistic idea of the level of wages, and you can compare this data with your country or, for example, any other European country.
What are the salaries in Portugal?
To begin with, for 2022, the minimum wage in the country is 705 euros per month (for comparison, back in 2020, the minimum wage was 635 euros). This is the amount that factory workers, waiters, cleaning staff, and others with low qualifications can receive. In addition, it is worth mentioning that in Portugal, workers receive 14 salaries a year (for 12 months + a separate vacation allowance and Christmas allowance), as well as compensation for food (or can eat for free in the canteen, if the company has one). So, given all these factors and supplements, even the minimum wage in the country can live on.
The Portuguese government plans to increase the minimum wage to 750 euros by 2023, but still, Portugal is a country in Europe with one of the lowest minimum wages, so if you plan to work in a factory or one of the areas with low qualifications, it would certainly be logical to consider other European countries for immigration.
For other professions and specializations, for a more thorough analysis, I suggest using the database of the job search portal Indeed and the database site MeuSalario, which make it possible to assess the average wage in many areas.
In the table below you will see different professions, the average salary limits for them and the average amount of salaries in the country. Of course, this is relative because, as we have already discussed above, the wages of the same specialist can vary by several times depending on his level and place of work, but with this information, you can already draw some conclusions.
It is important to note that the values below are gross wages, the amount before taxes. After taxes, wages and salaries will drop significantly.
Note: We compiled the table below when writing this article in 2020, but now, in 2022, the situation for employee salaries has not changed much. As we noted above, while in 2020, the minimum wage was 635 euros, in 2022, it is 705 euros, i.e., in two years, there was only a 70 euro increase in the minimum wage, so in the table below, you can safely add 70 euros to each value for 2020. It's also important to understand that if you have a permanent employment contract and say that it states that your salary is 1000 euros, then this figure rarely changes, regardless of whether you work for the company for a year, ten years, or your whole life. This is especially true for conservative and family-owned Portuguese companies, so alas, the table below, although made in 2020, is still relevant in 2022 and probably will be applicable in 2030 and 2040, adjusted for a slight increase in the minimum salary across the country.
Question for the most attentive readers: have you noticed something strange in the average salaries for entirely different professions and occupations?
That's right, almost all amounts, give or take 1000 euros, and we are talking about professions of different qualifications and different levels of complexity. One thousand euros is a kind of average value for very many areas around the country. Again, in this case, we are only talking about salaried workers. Because, for example, if you're an auto mechanic and you can open your shop and work for yourself, I think it's pretty realistic to earn 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 euros a month, and maybe even more. If you just set up as a mechanic as a salaried employee, the amount will be many times less.
This is certainly another advantage of working as a sole proprietor. This is especially true if you provide services (manicures, repair work, etc.). Only by working for yourself will you be able to get a fair payment for your work. Or if you are lucky enough to find a decent company that will pay a fair wage rather than the national average-minimum.
I can give an example from my own experience. I worked in different companies in international trade, in other cities and positions, but my salary was always around 1000 euros (+ a couple hundred depending on the company and city). For the first time, I could go beyond 1000 euros and earn times more only when my position in the company had bonuses available (in my case, they were sales bonuses). I finally made several times more than 1000 euros, but it was only at the expense of the rewards. My salary in a very high position was still around 1000 euros.
My former boss always joked in our commercial department, "If it weren't for bonuses, your salary would be lower than my housekeeper's!" As they say, there's truth in every joke. Let's do the math. On average, housekeepers in Portugal charge between 7 and 15 euros per hour, depending on the city. Let's take 10 euros as a moderate price and multiply it by 40 hours of work per week. That's 400 euros per week and 1,600 per month. And now look again at the average salaries of the highly qualified people above. It turns out my former boss wasn't joking at all. After all, any busy housekeeper will receive more than, for example, a marketing specialist or an economist. There is no doubt that housework and cleaning are critical and necessary areas. But would you, as an economist, marketer, designer, or other highly skilled professional, be willing to earn less than a cleaning professional? Everyone will have a different answer to this question.
From my own experience, I can tell you that performance bonuses, sales percentages, and other pay raises alone can make a dramatic difference. So if you are suddenly considering different jobs, give preference to those where in addition to a fixed salary you will also have a bonus part.
In addition, attentive readers may notice that doctors, teachers, and alike socially significant professionals in Portugal are paid much better than private-sector professions and certainly better than similar professions in the CIS countries. On the other hand, as a teacher and doctor from the CIS country, you must go through a complex and long way to confirm your diploma in Portugal. You may even have to go through training again (in whole or partly); of course, not everyone is ready for this.
Who gets the highest salaries in Portugal?
Of course, this is a bit of a rhetorical question, but in recent years a trend has emerged in Portugal, which dictates a high demand for specialists in programming, computer science, IT projects, and other similar areas. Companies are willing to pay good money for savvy IT specialists. They are also ready to invite them from any non-European country and help prepare visas and all necessary documents. This is because the demand for such specialists is growing every year, and Portuguese universities cannot train enough young professionals.
Let's look at the LandingJobs report on the average salaries of different IT employees (for more information on how much programmers earn in Portugal, see our article).
According to the portal report:
- Back-End Developers (3-5 years of experience) will earn about 2000-3300 euros per month.
- UX/UI designer (3-5 years of experience) will earn about 1600-2160 euros per month.
- Android developers (3-5 years of experience) will earn about 2,000-3750 euros monthly.
And these are only mid-level specialists and mid-level experience. For example, a technical director with extensive experience could claim a salary of 6,600-7,900 euros per month.
Below is a complete list of annual gross salaries (i.e., before taxes). You can also see wage dynamics in various IT fields on this specialized portal.
That is why if you are suddenly considering getting an education in a new field or, for example, to help your child choose a profession for a future job in Portugal, pay attention to IT and programming. It is now in maximum demand, and in Portugal, the salaries in this field are higher than in any other lots. Although, of course, perhaps even in the CIS countries, programmers earn the same or even more.
Wages in Portugal - one of the most critical aspects of planning to immigrate to Portugal
"Portugal is a great country to live in, not to work in" - this statement can often be found on the Internet, and, of course, it is partially true, which we substantiated in detail in this article.
For your expectations of immigration to Portugal to match the reality, it is necessary to study in great detail the characteristics of the country and its labor market. Although the numbers in this article may be disappointing, I think it is better to know the country's average wage in advance and be prepared for it. Perhaps this information will help you decide in favor of another country. Maybe you will decide to start your own business, and not work for a company within the proposed salaries, as we wrote about in detail in our article about finding a job in Portugal. Or maybe you decide to change your life and want to study to become a programmer and then be invited to work in a Portuguese company, offering a salary worthy of living in the country.
Whatever decision you make, everything is in your hands! And this article will hopefully be a starting point for making the right decisions.
In 2022 the minimum wage in Portugal will be 705 euros. Many people have this salary, which may be slightly higher due to food allowances and payment of 13 and 14 salaries (costs related to Christmas and summer vacation). So, in reality, the amount of 705 euros is increased by additional payments.
It is unlikely to affect your salary, but it will directly impact how quickly and easily you can find a job with an official contract. So be careful, because starting to work without a work permit, you risk falling for an unscrupulous employer, who at least may deceive you with the conclusion of an official employment contract, and, at most, may not pay your wages at all.
To get a better salary in Portugal, it is essential never to accept the first option and not look for work in a specific location but throughout the country. Conventionally speaking, there are factories in the country where workers on the line are paid more than 1000 euros per month, which is a much higher wage than the national average. So it is possible to find such factories and companies as well. Knowing Portuguese can also help increase your chances of getting paid more decently.
More often than not, no. Salaries before the interview may be announced only when hiring workers for a factory or other similar jobs, where the pay is fixed for all. Also, for some IT employees, the salary range is sometimes listed right in the job description. If you are planning to get a job in an office in Portugal, be prepared because, at all the first interviews, you will only be asked about your salary expectations. The absolute amount of salary in Portugal applicants learns most often only when you are already made a job offer, i.e., job offer. This may be strange for people from many countries, but it is the norm in Portugal.