What companies are looking for in young professionals... and what employees have to offer.

Attention to all young professionals who would like to work in the Algarve! Hurry up and answer the first call to enter into the job market, but not before acquiring or perfecting what are considered to be the new requirements of employers!

Willing to follow orders? Forget it! Companies now look for autonomous, proactive young people with a spirit of initiative. Deliver the work on time? Not good enough! Employers want resilient young people with problem-solving skills and a taste for a teamwork. Do you have an academic degree? Yes, but just more importantly to demonstrate the willingness to learn, as well have interest in IT and developing other languages. So, know how to start your path towards becoming the most desired professionals in the Algarve’s business world!


What do companies look for in young professionals?

They look for behavioural skills such as independence, initiative, resilience, and the ability to solve problems, in addition to professional skills such as language and computer skills. These are some of the attributes most valued by companies, that young people are about to finish high school or university, should know (and heed!), to better overcome the obstacles that may arise when its time comes to enter the job market in the Algarve.

This is because you have to face up to the high rate of unemployment among the younger generation and then the difficulty of keeping the job they’ve finally landed on – often on precarious terms, fixed-term contracts, or trial periods. It is therefore essential that young professionals know what most companies are looking for these days:

1. Adequate training

The appropriate training for the job position is naturally one of the requirements of companies, although the course or the name of the university the candidate attended is not always a decisive factor in an increasingly competitive labour market. With access to higher education becoming more democratic, employers are also relying on other differentials, some of which I will discuss below.

2. Independence, initiative, and proactivity

Most companies in the Algarve are looking for self-sufficient professionals with the power of initiative to perform tasks effectively, even those that have not (yet) been assigned by their superior. In addition to young professionals who are not dependent on instructions, companies are interested in proactive people who can propose new solutions to solve the business issue.

3. Resilience and problem-solving skills

No matter how comfortable you are in your position in the market, every company experiences adverse situations and faces problems, so it is natural to look for young people who are resilient, i.e. who face and overcome adversity with optimism, deal with problems in a positive way, learn from mistakes, and resist external pressures. More! In today’s business context, young people who are not able to solve problems that may arise, are left behind! Critical thinking, the ability to anticipate a problem or to solve it with relative ease, is a differentiating asset.

4. Willingness to learn

Graduates, masters, PhDs? They are always welcome! But for many companies the willingness to learn “compensates” for the lack of an academic degree, since the important thing is that the young person has the will to improve his or her knowledge levels and is curious about new learning, thus becoming more educated, but also more versatile over time.

5. Emotional intelligence and a taste for teamwork

Emotional intelligence, the ability to create and generate empathy and interpret the reactions and feelings of others correctly (and better manage your own emotions), is a much sought-after trait, not least because it promotes teamwork, which is essential for achieving common goals quickly and effectively.

6. Mastery of other languages

Basic knowledge of English is not enough! Companies are increasingly aware that they live in a global village where it is preferable to hire young people who are fluent in English and, if possible, have good knowledge of French and Spanish or Italian and German, among other languages.

7. IT skills

Regardless of the job position to which a vacancy refers, companies favour candidates with IT knowledge, since IT is crucial in the technology business, but it is also important and transversal to all other professions, in the daily performance of different tasks.

8. Adaptation to change

Adaptation to digital tools? More than that! Companies are looking for young professionals who can abandon old habits, spot opportunities, and embrace new approaches.

What do companies have to offer?

A salary? Of course, but today companies also offer more conditions to promote the well-being and quality of life of their employees, and more tools for them to grow personally and professionally! The objective remains the same – to increase employee productivity, and as a consequence, business profitability – but now most organizations are betting on a less rigid hierarchy that willingly accepts the sharing of opinions and gives constant feedback.

Companies in the Algarve are also investing in professional training and avoiding the turnover that has characterized institutional environments in recent years, retaining talent throughout more social support and opportunities for growth, but also through the possibility of remote work and flexible hours. Which allows them to add more quality of life and increase morale of productivity. A modality fostered by the pandemic that everything indicates will be consolidated in the post-Covid context. Which leads to bringing benefits for workers who lose less time commuting to work and gain more time with their families, for example.


In short, in a labour market where the task assigned today is for yesterday, the well-being and quality of life of workers are essential factors, at least in forward-thinking companies that intend to contribute to a balance between personal and professional life that, ultimately, brings happiness and fosters business competitiveness and productivity.

And speaking of productivity, to all the young people who are interested in entrepreneurship and financial management.


I advise you to read my next opinion piece, where the techniques, technologies and perceptions that every employer would like to see in an employee will be focussed, as well tips for all young people who understand (in their full right) that being an “employee” is not the only solution to enter the labour market. See you there!

Article published in Jornal Sul Informação


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About Luís Horta

Luis is the founder and CEO of Webfarus. He has been a teacher in Portuguese Public Education for over 25 years. He has helped create and develop over 700 businesses in different areas throughout his career.

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