- Download our Moving to Rio de Janeiro Guide (PDF)
Expats considering working in Rio de Janeiro can look for employment opportunities in a diverse range of industries, as the city boasts the second-largest economy in Brazil, right after São Paulo. Rio de Janeiro's port and international airport make it an important commercial centre of Brazil.
Job market in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro hosts major multinational companies in the oil, textile, shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals, media and communications fields. Highly qualified expats with skills in these industries are more likely to find employment. Agriculture, fishing and construction are also significant contributors to the city's economy.
Teaching English is also a popular occupation for foreigners in Rio. Since Rio is one of Brazil's leading banking and finance centres, expats also have opportunities in the finance industry.
Rio's service centre continues to grow, with its tourism and hospitality sectors being among the largest in the country. The city's information technology industry is also experiencing a boom and is another sector that could employ expats.
Finding a job in Rio de Janeiro
Expats moving to Brazil in search of work may find this a slow and frustrating endeavour. Competition for jobs in Rio de Janeiro is tight, and preference is mostly given to locals. Networking is an integral part of the job search in Brazil. It's often about whom a person knows rather than what they know. Expats seeking employment will do well to make the right connections.
The best option is to secure a job in Rio before moving to Brazil. In fact, the majority of expats moving to Rio de Janeiro for work have been transferred here as part of a relocation package with their existing multinational employer. Still, expats can peruse the pages of social media networks and websites such as LinkedIn, Indeed and Vagas to view job postings seeking foreign workers in Rio de Janeiro.
Regardless of the industry or type of work, expats working in Rio de Janeiro will need a valid work permit for Brazil. Getting a work permit can be difficult, as the employer typically has to prove that the foreigner has skills that cannot be fulfilled by a Brazilian.
Work culture in Rio de Janeiro
Despite its beaches, beautiful scenery and easy-going lifestyle, expats moving to Rio should not be fooled into thinking they will be working in a relaxed environment.
Although the pace of doing business in Brazil is much slower than what expats may be used to, Brazilians work hard and expats will be expected to do the same. Although English is increasingly being spoken in business circles, it's essential for foreigners wanting to work in Rio de Janeiro to have knowledge of Portuguese.
It is also essential for expats to dress well and professionally, as physical appearance is important to Brazilians. Meetings will largely be conducted informally, and everyone at the table will have an opportunity to express their opinions.
►Learn more about the Brazilian business culture and etiquette in Working in Brazil
"Everything is more relaxed and working hours are shorter. Furthermore, professional advancement is more based on connections and background than merit, but this is slowly changing." Read Elliot's interview about his expat experience in Rio.
Are you an expat living in Rio de Janeiro?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Rio de Janeiro. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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