- Download our Moving to Brazil Guide (PDF)
Expats working in Brazil are often attracted by its image as a fast-growing economy with a prosperous future.
The job market doesn't necessarily reflect this, however. Job prospects have diminished while the competition for jobs has increased. This has partially been a result of structural problems, including slow-moving bureaucracy, corruption and weak infrastructure.
The Brazilian economy is expected to recover, though. The government has also put a lot of effort into boosting growth by investing in large-scale infrastructure projects as well as scientific and technological development. This has attracted an increasingly skilled workforce.
Job market in Brazil
The majority of foreigners who find jobs in Brazil are highly skilled expats who work in industries with skills shortages. These include IT, engineering, pharmaceutical, automotive, construction, oil and gas. Qualified expats working as software engineers, programmers and database managers are highly sought-after. Jobs in finance and engineering are highly competitive. .
The majority of expats working in Brazil are usually based in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. São Paulo is the home of Brazil’s stock exchange and many multinational companies, while Rio hosts a fair few thriving oil companies.
Teaching English is also another option for expats moving to Brazil, especially those who want to get some initial work experience in the country. Expats should however be aware that teaching jobs are typically not high paying.
Finding a job in Brazil
Expats wanting to live and work in Brazil can use a number of resources in their job search. Local publications are good for researching various industries and contain job listings in a range of sectors, though expats may need to enlist the help of someone fluent in Portuguese.
The most secure, and probably best-paying, option for employment in Brazil would be to get transferred to the country through an international company.
Online job postings on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Indeed are also a good place to look, although expats should be wary of possible scammers.
Work culture in Brazil
The Brazilian work environment is known for appearing very formal on the surface with a much more casual atmosphere when it comes to personal interactions. Relationships are very important to Brazilians when doing business. Expats will have to put a lot of effort into networking if they want to be successful.
There are no set business hours in Brazil, though most businesses are open sometime between 8am and 6pm. Many businesses open from 8.30am to 5.30pm, while executives will often start and finish working later. Lunch is usually taken between 12.30pm and 2.30pm.
While it is common for Brazilians to arrive late for social gatherings, it is essential for expats to ensure they arrive on time for meetings. The meeting proceedings are frequently informal, with everyone allowed to voice their opinion, although the final decision lies with the most senior person at the table.
►For more on local work culture, see Doing Business in Brazil
"I felt like the corporate culture in Porto Alegre was much more casual than I was accustomed to back home, though it depends on industry too – just like in the States." Read more of Paulistinha's expat interview about Brazil.
"From a structural standpoint, labour restrictions, business regulations, and the tax code are all more bureaucratic here, adding a layer (or several layers!) of complexity to doing business. Culturally, Brazil is socially very hierarchical and communications tend to be indirect, versus the US’s direct approach." Learn more in Jennifer's expat interview about Brazil.
Are you an expat living in Brazil?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Brazil. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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