- Download our Moving to São Paulo Guide (PDF)
Expats planning to work in São Paulo should prepare for tough competition in the workplace. Increasing numbers of young and highly educated professionals are looking to Brazil for promising new job opportunities. Established multinational businesses are also seeing investment opportunities in São Paulo, which is well placed when it comes to serving the South American markets. Expats looking to secure employment in São Paulo will need to be highly skilled and experienced to stand out from their competitors.
Job market in São Paulo
The most essential requirement for finding a job in São Paulo is having the ability to speak some Portuguese. Jobs that do not require some level of Portuguese knowledge are rare. So knowing the language will automatically improve an expat's chances of finding employment.
The majority of people working in São Paulo are employed in the service, finance, agriculture, manufacturing and technology sectors. Multinational companies with branches or headquarters in São Paulo include Volkswagen, Unilever, Nestlé and Google. Many expats working at these multinational companies are transferred to São Paulo from their home countries.
Finding a job in São Paulo
São Paulo's diverse economy and exciting job opportunities have lured many an expat. That said, unless expats are highly skilled or are transferred to São Paulo from their company's offices abroad, job opportunities for foreigners are few and far between.
Expats with sought-after skills in fields such as engineering, IT and finance are the likeliest to be successful in finding a job in São Paulo. Working knowledge of the local language will undoubtedly improve an expat's chances of being hired. As such, learning Portuguese should be a priority for any expat moving to São Paulo for work.
Many expats who struggle to find work in their original field opt for teaching English as a way of earning money. Expats will need a TEFL certificate to teach English in Brazil legally. As salaries for English teachers in São Paulo are low, these jobs are best suited for younger expats travelling through South America or spending their gap year in Brazil rather than those looking to establish a career or settle down in the long term.
Work culture in São Paulo
The business culture in São Paulo is considerably more formal than in many other Brazilian cities. Locals will expect expats to present themselves well and dress in appropriate business attire.
Despite the formality of the city's business culture, São Paulo locals tend to be relationship-focused. Expats should focus on networking and building relationships with their colleagues if they hope to have a positive experience working in São Paulo. Attempting to learn the local language will also go a long way with Brazilian colleagues.
►Learn more about employment and work culture in Working in Brazil
"I think São Paulo, as the true economic engine of the country, will reveal loads of opportunity over time. As in the rest of the country, though, quite a lot of connections rely on word of mouth." Read more of Paulistinha's São Paulo expat interview.
Are you an expat living in Sao Paulo?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Sao Paulo. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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