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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Brazilian Expats Enjoy Working Remotely

Brazilians working abroad are younger than average, more likely to be women, and cherish their work-life balance. They tend to work in countries with great local career opportunities and more modern working arrangements.

Why do Brazilians move abroad? According to the Expat Insider 2021 survey by InterNations, 40% of Brazilian expats working abroad relocated to another country for their career. While this is the most frequently cited reason among Brazilians working abroad, this share is still smaller than the global average (47%). Most Brazilian expats were sent abroad by their employer (15%), followed by 13% that were recruited internationally and 11% who found a job on their own. Just 1% moved abroad to start their own business.

Aside from work-related reasons, an above-average share of Brazilians working abroad originally relocated for their partner’s job or education (7% vs. 4% globally), because they wanted to live in their partner’s home country / for love (13% vs. 10% globally), or because they were looking for a better quality of life (12% vs. 6% globally).

The Typical Brazilian Working Abroad Is Young and in a Relationship

Brazilians working abroad are on average 39.9 years old, which is a few years younger than the global average (43.1 years). The gender split among Brazilian expats also deviates from the global trend: More than half (54%) are women and just 46% are men, while it is the other way round worldwide: 46% are women and over half are men (53%) — the global shares do not add up to 100% because some survey participants chose to self-describe their gender identity. What is more, 70% of Brazilians working abroad are in a committed relationship, which is nine percentage points more than the global average (61%).

Highly Educated with Long-Term Plans

The typical level of education among Brazilian expats working abroad is quite high: more than three in five (63%) have a postgraduate/master’s degree (vs. 47% globally), another 26% hold a bachelor’s degree (vs. 33% globally), and 8% cite a PhD as their highest academic level of education (vs. 8% globally). While for 5% of working expats worldwide the highest level of formal education is a high school degree (or similar), this applies to only 1% of Brazilians working abroad, and the share of those with no degree at all is at 0% (vs. 1% globally).

While many Brazilians working abroad have not spent a large amount of time in their current host country, they plan on staying abroad longer than the global average: more than half (54%) have been living in their current country of residence for up to three years (vs. 42% globally), while 15% have been there for ten years or more (vs. 24% globally). However, close to one in three Brazilians working abroad (32%) can imagine staying abroad possibly forever (vs. 30% globally), and 24% plan on staying in their current destination for more than five years (vs. 22% globally).

Slightly Lower Incomes Compared to the Global Average

The majority of Brazilians abroad (80%) works full time (vs. 82% globally). The top 3 fields they work in are IT (12%), manufacturing and engineering (11%), and education (10%). Education and IT are also among the top fields globally. However, another 8% of expats worldwide work in finance, while this is just the case for 4% of expats from Brazil.

About three in ten Brazilians working abroad (29%) are in a senior and/or specialist position, followed by lower or middle management (15%) and top managers / executives (13%). The same share (13%) is self-employed / working as a freelancer, which is just slightly above the global average (11%). Exactly half the Brazilian expats (50%) earn up to 50,000 USD a year, compared to 44% globally. While 30% have a gross yearly income ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 USD (vs. 33% globally), 20% make more than 100,000 USD per year (vs. 23% globally).

Better Working Hours and More Career Opportunities Abroad

Just about two-thirds of Brazilians working abroad (66%) are satisfied with their job in general, which is a noticeably smaller share than the global average (73%). Interestingly, a closer look at some individual factors reveals that Brazilian expats rate them quite well. Close to seven in ten (69%) are happy with their job security (vs. 67% globally), and 73% are satisfied with their working hours (vs. 70% globally). In fact, the average working week among the Brazilian respondents (37.9 hours a week) is two hours shorter than the global average (39.9 hours per week).

The biggest difference occurs with regard to the local career opportunities: 56% of Brazilian expats rate these positively in their respective country of residence, compared to 49% globally. On the one hand, this might be due to the destinations where Brazilian expats most commonly work: The USA, the Netherlands, and Germany all rank well for their local career opportunities in the Expat Insider 2021 survey. The USA (2nd) and Germany (8th) even land among the top 10 worldwide, followed by the Netherlands in 17th place.

On the other hand, the different ratings for local career options might also be related to the situation Brazilians know from back home: just 41% of expats working in Brazil rate the local career opportunities positively, with the country ranking 40th out of 59 destinations worldwide. The level of satisfaction in Brazil is also lower than average for expats’ job security (54% happy vs. 67% globally) and working hours (66% happy vs. 70% globally).

What Brazilians Like about Their Current Job …

The top 3 things Brazilian expats working abroad like best about their current job are a good work-life balance (39%), the opportunity to work remotely / from home (37%), and flexible working hours (32%). In fact, 67% of Brazilians rate their work-life balance positively, which is about the same as the global average (68%).

More than seven in ten of those who can work from home (72%) say they like working remotely (vs. 65% globally) — 33% even like it very much, compared to 28% globally. This is probably a good thing since 45% of Brazilian expats work fully remotely (vs. 39% globally), and another 20% work remotely for more than 15 days per month (vs. 18% globally).

… and What They Wish for in the Future

The opportunity to work remotely / from home also makes it into the top 3 aspects Brazilian expats find important when imagining their dream job. Close to three in ten (28%) cite this aspect, compared to 22% globally.

However, two aspects are even more important to Brazilians working abroad when it comes to their ideal work environment, and here they also see things differently from the average expat: the most important aspect is a good work-life balance (55%), followed by a good compensation and/or good benefits (52%). Globally, it is the other way round: a good compensation and/or good benefits (54%) first, followed by a good work-life balance (49%).

There are two more aspects that are more relevant for Brazilian expats than for the average expat working abroad when they are asked to imagine their dream job: 27% of Brazilians wish to have room for personal development/growth (vs. 22% globally), and 22% find the employer’s corporate culture/values important (vs. 15% globally).

“While a good compensation and good benefits are often important factors for expats when they describe their ideal work environment, Brazilians working abroad put more emphasis on their work-life balance and flexible working conditions,” says Malte Zeeck, InterNations Founder and Co-CEO. “They also rank other factors more highly, such as personal development and companies with a corporate culture that they can identify with. These are aspects that are closely related to the concept of New Work, which describes the new way of working in the global and digital age.”

When it comes to expats comparing the importance of New Work in the local business culture, Brazil lands in 39th place out of 55 destinations worldwide. Germany (35th) only ranks slightly further ahead, but the Netherlands (5th) and the USA (1st) are among the best-rated countries worldwide in this regard. For example, 58% of expats in Brazil find that New Work plays an important role in the local business culture, which is the same as the global average (58%). But 74% of expats say the same about the business culture in the USA.

Further Reading