Young people leave Lisbon

From Lisbon to Höxter

Anyone reading Ricardo Ramos' résumé wonders which large company has put his headhunter on him. The 28-year-old from Lisbon is an electrical engineer, has a master's degree in nanotechnology and spent a year doing research at a Portuguese center of excellence for engineering and materials science. But Ricardo Ramos is unemployed and has been looking for a good job in Portugal for months without success. When he found out from the media that Germany was looking for skilled workers from Portugal, he drew new courage:

"I had looked at job advertisements from German companies before, but never applied, because they always stated excellent knowledge of German as a condition. But I don't speak German. When I found out that they are really actively recruiting people, it was like a A break for me. Maybe in a new environment I will have the opportunity to show what I can do and what I am worth. "

In addition to Ramos, dozens of Portuguese people have reported to the German embassy in Lisbon in the past few days - a sign of the hopeless situation in which many unemployed university graduates find themselves in Portugal. Last year, unemployment in this sector increased by eleven percent. There are now over 50,000 Portuguese with university degrees looking for work. The companies take advantage of this situation and usually only offer highly qualified young professionals miserable salaries. Like Filipa Oliveira. The young graduate studied marketing. With her degree, she belongs to the group of female social sciences and humanities graduates who are hardest hit by the job slump:

"It is totally unfair. If you go to the website of the employment office, you will only see offers from companies that pay between four and five hundred euros for a full-time job a month. A university degree and specialist knowledge are required as a prerequisite, and preferably English - and Spanish language skills - and then you get the minimum wage for it. "

Portuguese with university degrees have better chances of finding a job compared to less educated compatriots. But the differences in salaries of skilled workers are serious between the generations. Sociology professor António Dornelas has presented a comprehensive study on the subject on behalf of the Portuguese Ministry of Labor. His judgment could not be clearer:

"I believe that Portuguese society treats young people badly. It affects salaries, job security and social security. That creates a huge problem for us."

For example, when very well-trained Portuguese, like the engineer Ricardo Ramos, turn their backs on Portugal. At least the new generation of Portuguese migrants seem to be aware that the emigration model of poorly qualified Portuguese industrial workers in the 1960s and 70s does not apply to them personally. Ricardo Ramos:

"If you only emigrate because you think you are doing badly here, then it won't work. Then you take your own problems with you. But if you leave because you want to achieve more and that is difficult in Portugal right now, you go elsewhere but opening up opportunities, then I think that's good. Then I say: Go and come back or stay where you are. "