Working in Lisbon?

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Working in Lisbon

Having recovered from the economic and fiscal problems of the past few years, Lisbon is once more an extremely appealing destination for expats. Our guide informs you about the state of the city’s economy and potential job opportunities.
Most of Lisbon's GDP is generated in offices — the service sector is dominant here.

At a Glance:

  • Like many expat hotspots, Lisbon has a booming services sector home to Portugal’s largest companies.

  • It is home to the best job market in Portugal and the economic situation has improved greatly in the past few years.

Lisbon’s Dominant Service Sector

As the city is the capital of a major Westernized country, Lisbon’s economy today shares many features with those of other expat hotspots around the globe. The most prominent and obvious feature is, of course, the major role of the services sector. Many of the largest Portuguese corporations have their headquarters in Lisbon, including telephone network provider Portuguese Telecom and the largest energy supplier, Energias de Portugal. With major service providers moving into and operating from Lisbon, there is a drive for recruitment in the city to ensure the support, expansion, and development of a tertiary sector that is responsible for roughly 75% of value of Portugal’s economy and almost 70% of available jobs in the country.

Lisbon’s seaport has been an important facet of the city’s economy for centuries, and it remains so today. While it does not retain the dominant position in European trade it once had, it is still a major export-hub. In terms of ship servicing, transfer of goods, and as a large employer, the seaport remains of great significance for Lisbon.

For anyone involved in Portuguese mass media, working in Lisbon is an important career step: the nation’s TV stations, major newspapers, and all other forms of media are represented widely across the city.


Within the Greater Lisbon Area, the municipality of Oeiras has developed into the preferred choice of multinational corporations looking to reap the benefits of working in Lisbon without being constrained in terms of space or having to deal with the city’s high rents. Corporations that are, in one way or another, part of the daily lives of most of us have established representations in Oeiras. Among others, these include Nestlé, Samsung, and Hewlett-Packard. Fittingly, the municipality is home to various business parks grouped by trade, facilitating ease of business and creating synergies between the various companies in Lisbon’s northern suburb.

Industries in Lisbon

If you are not employed in the services sector but would still like to gain some experience working in Lisbon, you might have to look further outside the city — more specifically across the Tagus River. The south of the river is home to large-scale industrial enterprises, specializing in textiles, oil refinery, and steel amongst others.

The Economic Situation

It is perhaps no surprise to find that the perks of operating from and working in Lisbon has resulted in it being the wealthiest region in all of Portugal. Lisbon has the highest GDP per capita in Portugal, and the median income of an employee working in Lisbon is above those in other parts of the country. However, due to the different sectors, transnational and national corporations alongside traditional family businesses, and various other factors, a large pay gap also exists in Lisbon.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

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