Average salary in Portugal: salaries and advantages for workers from abroad

Would you like to work in Portugal? Your salary is an important factor for your new life. Learn about the average salary in Portugal and which professions offer tax benefits for foreigners who qualify for non-permanent resident status.

Low housing prices are one of Portugal’s main attractions for those who are thinking of moving, and the average salary helps explain the fact. Portugal has the sixth lowest average gross yearly salary among OECD states. That comes to something like 28,410 dollars per year (24,557 euros). A far cry from the United States, which leads with 69,392 dollars per year (59,981 euros), or neighbouring Spain, with its 39,922 dollars per year (34,508 euros).

Salaries in terms of purchasing power

Country Average gross yearly salary (euros)
US 59,981
United Kingdom 40,753
France 39,399
Spain 34,508
Italy 32,647
Portugal 24,557
Mexico 14,290

Source: OECD. Average gross yearly salary in purchasing power parity for 2020.

According to the National Statistics Bureau (INE), in 2020 the average gross monthly salary in Portugal was 1,314 euros, which comes to 18,396 euros per year, including Christmas and holiday bonuses.

Average salary in Portugal by level of education

Having a university degree ensures a higher salary in Portugal. In 2019 the average monthly base salary of a high-level executive was 2,104.3 euros, well over the national average (1,005.1 euros), according to the most recent figures provided by Pordata. A mid-level executive, on the other hand, earns an average base monthly salary of 1,484.6 euros. In the case of a non-qualified professional, the average base salary of 646.7 euros, the lowest of the three.

The best paid professions in Portugal

Every year Michael Page publishes its “Earnings Study”. This study reveals how much the top managers of Portuguese companies make a year, on average.

The most generous salaries are reserved for managerial positions in the Operations General Management (Tourism), Medical management, Legal counsel, Industrial boardroom positions or Purchasing managers.

Annual earnings of some top management positions in Lisbon

General Manager (industry): 110,000 € – 170,000 €

Legal Manager (average or large-scale company): 148,000 € – 160,000 €

Plant Manager: 72,000 € – 120,000 €

Chief Information Officer: 70,000 € – 120,000 €

Associate lawyer (10 years of experience): 120,000 €

Administrative and Financial Manager: 49,000 € – 105,000 €

IT Director: 40,000 € – 100,000 €

Marketing Director: 44,800 – 92,000 €

Operations Director (Engineering): 62,000 € – 92,000 €

Head of Human Resources: 55,000 € – 84,000 €

Store Supervisor (retail): 25,200 € – 59,500€

IT Systems Architect: 42,000 € – 56,000 €

Head of Accounting: 25,200 € – 56,000 €

Head of Recruiting: 25,200 € – 33,000 €

Source: Michael Page (2021 Earnings Study)

A positive tax regime for foreign salaries

Foreigners or Portuguese emigrants who decide to move to Portugal can qualify for a special tax regime for 10 consecutive years as established by the non-habitual resident (NHR) status. To qualify, a person must have lived outside of Portugal in the past 5 years and transfer their address for tax purposes to the country, as well as fulfilling all the other criteria.

This special tax regime bestows benefits in terms of Personal Income Tax, which is set a flat rate of 20% for workers in high added value professions (see box below).

High added value professions

  • Architects, engineers, and similar:
    • Architects
    • Engineers
    • Geologists
  • Artists, actors, and musicians:
    • Dancers, stage, cinema, radio, and television artists
    • Singers
    • Sculptors
    • Musicians
  • Auditors:
    • Auditors
    • Tax consultants
  • Doctors and dentists:
    • Dentists
    • Analysts
    • Surgeons
    • Ship’s doctor
    • General practitioner
    • Stomatologists
    • Physiatrists
    • Gastroenterologists
    • Ophthalmologists
    • Orthopaedists
    • ENT doctors
    • Paediatricians
    • Radiologists
    • Other medical specialities
  • Teachers:
    • University professors
  • Psychologists:
    • Psychologists
  • Liberal professions, technicians and similar:
    • Archaeologists
    • Biologists and life sciences specialists
    • IT programmers
    • IT programming and consultancy and activities related to IT and IT technologies
    • IT activities
    • IT consultancy activities
    • Management and operation of IT equipment
    • IT services activities
    • Data processing activities, hosting of information, web sites
    • Data processing activities, hosting, and related activities
    • Other IT services
    • News agency activities
    • Other IT service activities
    • Scientific research and development activities
    • Physical and natural sciences research and development
    • Research and development in biotechnology
    • Designers
  • Investors, administrators, and managers:
    • Investors, administrators, and managers of productive investment companies, provided the projects are eligible and the contracts include tax benefits, according to the Investment Tax Code
    • High-level corporate staff


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