Laid-back and with cheaper living costs than many other European cities, scenic Porto is a lure for experienced digital nomads as well as young talent.
# of engineers±18,600
PRIMARY SKILLSApplication Development
SECONDARY SKILLSDatabases, Front-End Frameworks, Mobile
With its high standard of living and scenic beauty, Porto is becoming a hub for a range of talent. This trend is likely to grow, as Portugal introduced a digital nomad visa in 2022. The influx of these workers has energised this historic city. Furthermore, recruiters surveyed by Sequoia identified Porto as a city to watch for tech talent.
Tech ecosystem value€950 million
VC from 2015€270 million
Major employersFarfetch, Critical Techworks
Boasting many historical buildings in its historic centre (a UNESCO world heritage site), Porto is nevertheless a thoroughly modern city with a growing technology hub of 488 tech startups and 24 accelerators. Around €270 million in venture capital has flowed into the industry since 2015, lifting its value to €950 million. Critical Techworks, a partnership between BMW and Critical Software, has tapped Porto’s engineers, elevating the city’s reputation as an emerging hub for technology talent. Porto is also a top-tier city for app development specialists, with 66% of the local talent pool skilled in this area.
Farfetch, the biggest employer of tech talent in Porto, is the creation of local José Neves, who studied at the University of Porto. Although headquartered in London, Farfetch draws much of its talent from Porto, particularly mobile tech specialists, to support its online shopping product. Over half of Porto’s talent has more than 10 years of experience in the field, which aligns with established hirers such as Farfetch, now 15 years old. But there is also a growing contingent of young tech talent, with 12% of Porto’s talent having less than two years of experience, compared to the European average of 9%.
Poland, Spain, Portugal and Romania have a lot of talent who are used to working for VC-backed technology companies. Ten years ago, there was lots of technology talent in software houses for big banks and other large corporates. Now, they work in smaller companies or team extensions of fast-growth companies.—Founder of a UK-based startup
% contribution to local talent pool
Polytechnic Institute of Porto (PIP)19%
University of Minho19%
University of Porto17%
A trio of city universities supplies most of Porto’s technology graduates, with the PIP and the University of Minho each contributing 19%, and the University of Porto, the second largest university in Portugal by number of students, contributing 17%.
- At 11%, talent in Porto is slightly less open to new roles than the European average of 12%.
- The notice period in Porto depends on the duration of employment. If an employee has worked for less than six months, the notice period is 15 days. This increases over time to a maximum of 75 days’ notice for employees with more than a decade’s service.
- Employees wishing to resign must give 15 days’ notice if they have worked at the company for less than six months, increasing stepwise to 60 days if they have worked at the company for more than two years. This means talent working in Portugal has one of the longest exit times in Europe.
- The cost of living in Porto is 11 percentage points below the average cost of living in Europe.
- Employers are required to pay an amount equivalent to 23.75% of an employee’s gross salary to social security, higher than the European average of 20%.
- The corporate income tax rate is 21% in Portugal. SMEs with annual revenues under €50 million pay a reduced tax rate of 17%.
- Virtual stock-option plans are most common in Portugal because there is no tax-favoured scheme and non-voting shares are not possible. Virtual options are taxed as capital gain at 28% at the point of sale.
- The average monthly office rental in Porto is €25 per square metre, notably below the European average of €39.
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