Brazil is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Foreign investment has lead to an increase in the hire of foreign workers, which according to Forbes, rose by 30% in 2010.
Oil and gas companies are particularly big recruiters and in other sectors the acquisition of new equipment and technology from abroad means professionals with the relevant specialised experience are in demand. Prospects for graduates without experience are more limited though and it is advisable to seek an employment posting in Brazil by joining an international company with offices there.
Typical problems encountered: there are some graduate opportunities available but, with more Brazilians entering higher education, competition for these roles is growing. It can also be difficult to obtain a work permit (see visa and immigration).
How to improve your chances: gain some work experience, particularly in the growth sectors. Proficiency in IT and at least some Portuguese will be an asset.
Language requirements: English is increasingly being used as the language of business and is also taught in most schools and universities. Portuguese is the only language of daily life. There are differences in vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar between European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese. See the Embassy of Brazil in London for details of accredited language courses in both the UK and Brazil.
Where can I work?
Major industries: Brazil has well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing and service sectors. It is the world's largest producer of sugar cane and coffee, and a net exporter of cocoa, soya beans, orange juice and tobacco. It is also one of the world's leading producers of hydroelectric power.
Recent growth areas: renewable energy sector, in particular biofuel; water and waste management; automotive industry.
Shortage occupations: engineering, environmental management and consultants and IT professionals.
Major companies: Petrobas, Itaúsa-Investimentos Itaú, Banco Bradesco, Banco do Brasil, Vale, BNP Parabas, Bacardi-Martini, Coca-Cola, GlaxoSmithKline, Microsoft.
Major cities: Brasilia (capital), São Paulo (largest), Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre, Fortaleza.
What’s it like working in Brazil?
Average working hours: the maximum working week in Brazil is 44 hours, not exceeding eight hours per day. Most business is conducted between the hours of 8am and 6pm. Employees are entitled to a weekly rest of at least 24 hours, which is usually taken on a Sunday.
Holidays: all employees are entitled to up to 30 days' holiday after a full year of work with the same employer.
Average graduate starting salary: graduate starting salaries can vary greatly according to the industry and area, but the minimum monthly wage in Brazil is R$545 (February 2010).
Tax rates: income tax, or impost de renda, is a progressive tax starting at 7.5% with the top level at 27.5% (May 2011). See Worldwide Tax for an overview of the tax system and administration in Brazil.
Working practices and customs: face-to-face meetings are preferred over written communication. Brazilians negotiate with people not companies. When it comes to business agreements, Brazilians insist on drawing up detailed legal contracts. Banks open Monday to Friday from 10am-4pm, shopping centres in the major cities open Monday to Saturday, 10am-10pm. Smart business attire is preferred.
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