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Working in Rio de Janeiro
Find out how to get a job and work in Rio de Janeiro
Expats working in Rio de Janeiro benefit from one of the largest economies in Latin America. The steady economic growth of the city is just one of many reasons for working in Rio de Janeiro. To learn about Rio's business world, read our Relocation Guide for info on the economy, the job search, and more.
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Employment in Rio de Janeiro
Economy of Rio de Janeiro
Expats thinking of working in Rio de Janeiro will be happy to hear that it has the second largest economy in Brazil, right after São Paulo. The city is indeed an important economic hub with its major port and international airport. Even the city’s tourism sector seems to be bouncing back after being in decline for several years. In 2013, Rio’s economy accounted for about 12% of Brazil’s GDP. Thus, Rio de Janeiro is the fourth richest metropolis in Latin America, right behind Mexico City, São Paulo, and Buenos Aires.
Working in Rio de Janeiro means contributing to a highly diversified economy with heavy and light industries, commerce, manufacturing, trade, finance, and other service sectors. However, the city is also one of the leading banking and financial centers in Brazil, with the country’s most active stock market, the Bolsa da Valores do Brasil. While the service sector dominates the city’s economy, Rio de Janeiro’s industries manufacture a wide range of products, including processed foods, petroleum products, metal products, pharmaceuticals, ships, textiles, and furniture.
Rio’s Work Force
In recent decades, Rio’s society has slightly changed, making the labor market not only more diverse but also much more competitive. Shifts in the occupational structure have led to the labor force reinventing itself. This means that working in Rio de Janeiro is currently an attractive option for expats between the ages of 25 and 39.
But because working in Rio de Janeiro is so popular among a young, well-trained work force, it can be tricky to find employment. Most expats who move to Rio are transferees working in a branch office of their company. Many self-made expats find work in the engineering sector, the high-tech sector, or the petrochemical industry.
The Job Search
However, while finding a job in Rio is difficult, it is not impossible. You should keep in mind that in Brazil, networking is at least as important as a good resume. It is rather common to get employment recommendations from friends, family members, or business associates. Other than finding work through networking, there are different employment resources you should make use of when getting ready for working in Rio de Janeiro.
Job Search Resources
Aside from the usual networking, online job databases are the perfect place to start. Empregos is only one example of these databases. Another is Jobsin Rio, which advertises jobs for companies in which English is the main working language. However, there is a variety of websites which allow both employers and recruiters to post their job announcements. Most of these websites are indeed free for job seekers who plan on working in Rio de Janeiro.
Alternatively, you may contact and visit the work-placement office in Rio de Janeiro or attend job fairs and career events. At these fairs and events you get to directly interact with potential employers and convince them of your potential.
Resume and Interview
When putting together your application for working in Rio de Janeiro, try to pay special attention to your cover letter and, most importantly, your resume. Aside from the usual contact and education information, it is important that you add additional qualifications and specialized training you have received. When you begin listing your employment information, do not hesitate to mention your position, responsibilities, and achievements.
Once you are invited to your first interview you move one step closer to your dream of working in Rio de Janeiro. If you have applied for a job with a smaller company, or one located in a more remote area of the country, you should prepare to be interviewed in Portuguese. Luckily, in cities such as Rio the labor force is a more cosmopolitan one and your interview might be conducted in English. Throughout the interview it is important that you remain modest and refrain from bragging or aggressiveness.
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Doing Business in Rio de Janeiro
Everyone working in Brazil has to contribute to the country’s extensive social security system. Both the employer and the employee pay these contributions. While you are working in Rio, between 8% and 11% of your salary will be deducted by the Ministry of Social Affairs (Ministério da Previdência Social) for social security purposes.
Luckily, Brazil has signed social security agreements with several countries making a move to Rio de Janeiro significantly easier. If you are from one of these countries, you still have to contribute to the Brazilian system. However, your contributions will be taken into account by the social security system of your home country and you will be able to collect benefits for the time you spend in Rio.
Benefits and Eligibility
The National Institute of Social Security (Instituto Nacional do Seguro Social (INSS)) provides different social security benefits such as sick pay, pensions, and invalidity benefits. Keep in mind that you have to pay contributions for a minimum of 15 years in order to qualify for public old-age pension. Invalidity benefits, on the other hand, require you to contribute to the social security scheme for at least 12 months. Fortunately, the contributions you have to make are comparatively low by international standards.
Aside from INSS funds, your employer has to establish a Fundo de Garantia do Tempo de Servico (FGST) for you. This is a frozen account into which your employer pays a certain amount of your monthly salary. In case of a termination without cause or a serious disease, you will receive the money from this account.
Before getting ready to do business in Rio de Janeiro, there are a few cultural aspects you need to keep in mind. For instance, working in Rio can be quite difficult for expat women who do not know how to deal with the machismo that pervades in Brazilian culture. Especially if you find yourself in a position of authority as a woman, you should be prepared to be the only woman at the top and to work hard to gain the respect of your male colleagues.
Brazilians like to establish personal relationships before doing business. This means that you have to put some time and effort into building such a relationship and giving your business partners the feeling that you are trustworthy and sincere. Patience is the key as you get used to the slower pace of doing business. On the plus side, you will establish long-term relationships with your business partners.
Last but not least, keep in mind that being fashionably late is quite common and perfectly acceptable in Brazil. If you hail from a country where doing business is a much more fast-paced endeavor and where punctuality is a virtue, you might find it hard to adapt to this.
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