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Portugal is a great incubator for testing and developing new products and services within the ICT and Electronics sectors. The country shows high levels of sophistication in this field, with a good network, considerable levels of investment in R&D, as well as high levels of accessibility and connectivity. With a population of just over 10 million people, the country is known for easily adopting new Technologies and for having a highly qualified and competitive workforce.
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The ICT in Portugal: Overview and Companies Data
Portugal is a country that has been strongly hit by the 2008 crisis, which in 2012 had an economy contracted by 3.2% and unemployment of 18% during the crisis. But the Portuguese country has managed to turn the situation around and today its economy is growing at a rate of 2.5%, despite the emigration of 500,000 students during the crisis, today 60% of them have returned to the country due to the renewed and strengthened Portuguese economy.
Some of the characteristics of this country at the moment are that it has a low cost of living and at the same time a high quality of it, being the fourth cheapest capital in Europe and the cheapest in western Europe, some very notable characteristics are its good climate, its culture and the cultural wealth of this country. After having briefly reviewed the characteristics of this southwestern European country, we are going to analyze more technical issues related to the outsourcing of services from this country, we will also analyze other political, legislative, and cultural aspects to take into account when we think about doing business with this neighboring country of the European Union.
Why should someone work with companies in Portugal?
The first reason to consider working with a company in Portugal, as almost always when we talk about outsourcing services, is the cost and aspects related to the production process of the product or service.
The average salary in Portugal is € 1,566 divided into 12 monthly payments, while the minimum wage is only € 700, this is a great competitive advantage for the country to carry out outsourcing business. The salary of a Portuguese software developer is approximately between 2 and 2.5 times cheaper if we relate the price to the salaries of these same professionals from Germany or Sweden. In those cases where you are looking for professionals with a Doctorate (Ph.D.) level of studies, the salary would be around € 80 per hour, while in countries like Switzerland it reaches € 300, for a single hour.
Another issue to consider is that the square meter of an office in Lisbon stands at € 222 per year, comparing it with other prices such as those in Berlin, for example, this would leave us with a price of € 360 per square meter per year or € 670 in Stockholm, Sweden. The above data also favors the ROI for our business, working with Portuguese companies. Do not forget that Portugal is a country of the European Union, so it is governed by the same laws and international trade agreements within Europe as any other country attached to the EU.
In addition, to conclude this section, we will talk about the 100,000 graduates provided by Portuguese universities, with more than half of these graduates in some type of engineering, mathematics, or some related discipline. In this country, there are brands such as Mercedes, or Google, specifically the latter in the city of Lisbon.
What do you have to watch out for when working with companies in Portugal?
Portugal is a generally safe country and so are its companies, locally, there are only two factors that are not appropriate if you are going to do business with the Portuguese country, one is the problem with corruption and bribery, and the other is the increase in crime in the last 3 years, although as we discussed earlier, Portugal is generally a safe country to do business.
You have to be attentive to factors such as what is the quality standard, cultural and time factors, they can become especially important factors when working with IT companies in Portugal. For cultural reasons, it is advisable to clarify the deadlines rigorously, since in this country, due to its own culture, some terms such as "Tomorrow" or "Next week" are not always literally exact, but rather relative. It is advisable to establish standards to measure the performance of the process of creating a project as well since, in Portugal, the style and the casual, informal, and close culture prevail more. This does not mean that your projects will not be completed within the agreed deadline, but the correct dates must be made clear since the culture of central Europe and that of the southern part of Europe may differ slightly in some aspects. like these.
It is important to note that in the past, Portugal has been sensitive to economic recessions, being greatly affected, unlike other countries such as Poland, which can be an important data to value.
How reliable are the companies in Portugal?
Portuguese companies are generally as reliable as those of any neighboring country since luckily, this country is within the European Union and therefore shares European treaties with the rest of the countries that make up the union, in addition to having to be accountable to European institutions like other countries, this is an extra guarantee for doing business in the IT sector since unlike other leading countries in outsourcing software services that are not within the European Union This does guarantee certain aspects when trying to draw up outsourcing agreements in Portugal.
Due to this as a major factor and the absence of data that indicate otherwise, we can think that we can carry out IT projects in this country, as we abide by the same European standards as the rest, although as in all cases, there are companies whose objective is not to do business in which both parties win, to scam, something that should not be alarmed, since this occurs in all countries to a greater or lesser extent, to avoid these events, we will follow the rules that we have gathered previously and are suitable for any country.
We will only have to identify those companies that have validated experience and already work with other reference centers, in order to avoid possible bad practices and ensure that we can make the most of outsourcing services or products in Portugal, but without running the risk of fraud. or scam at a high level.
How is the IT industry in Portugal compared to other nearby countries?
The first difference between Portugal, with other neighboring countries such as Spain, France or Italy, is the salary since in Portugal it is considerably lower than in Spain and Italy, and much lower than in France. When our goal is the economic benefit and we look to other countries for outsourcing services, this aspect should be highlighted as the most important.
On the other hand, Spain has one of the most important ICT markets in Europe, a sector that employs around 500,000 people and represents 4.3% of GDP, in 2017. In this country, there are more than 34,000 companies related to the IT sector. For example, some of them are Telefónica, Indra, Panda Security, Abertis or Amadeus.
From another point of view, Portugal has 13,319 companies in the sector, employing 98,221 people, and with an annual growth of 5.3%, but 23.4% in the export of IT-related products or services. It also has a predominant startup ecosystem, but some of the most important points are the following:
- The fifth country with the highest number of PhDs in Science and Technology per 1000 inhabitants.
- TOP universities that have relationships with other very important institutions such as MIT, the University of Texas, or Fraunhofer.
- Startup incubators: Second home, Canopy, Bela-I, Startup Lisboa, IPN ...
- The seventh position in the ranking of European outsourcing of technology-related services in Europe, Middle East, and Africa, in 2014 according to a study carried out by Gartner.
Portugal is one of the best destinations to carry out the outsourcing of services in Europe, since on the one hand, it has accession to the European Union, which facilitates the realization of business and commercial agreements, also adding the guarantee provided by being a member of this group of countries.
On the other hand, its low costs and high standard of living make this southwestern European country a destination with a balance between reliability, prices, and trust, difficult to match within the continent, which allows better profitability, greater capacity. investment, and lower production costs.
In addition, to conclude, Portugal has a system that provides students with the necessary skills to train in the field of information technology, with important universities such as Aveiro and its relationships with other educational centers such as MIT or the University of Texas, which provides qualified professionals, with low cost and a high level of training. As a last note, we should say that it is advisable to take the necessary precautions when conducting business with companies in the Portuguese country since trust is high, but inconveniences can always occur, which, when working with companies with a long history and verifiable experience, we can reduce.
How the IT Industry in Portugal will evolve in 2022:
Compared to 2021 and years before, Portugal invests big time in startups starting with 2022. According to Euractiv, Portugal officials lead by Economy Minister, Pedro Siza Vieira announced the launch of Europe Startup Nations Alliance (ENSA) that covers 26 European states and is meant to facilitate and support startups in each of the member country. The program is even more ambitious since the Government invests €250 Million in Portugese startup tech scene.
Overall, Portugal has all the chances to become a leading European tech hub, or at least an emerging one in 2022 due to the announced Government support and qualified tech professionals.