People and Culture

4 things you need to know about Zühlke Portugal

5 minutes to read
With insights from...

Learn about our newest office in Porto and why you might just want to work here.

Pour some coffee, put on some relaxing music and join us for the fourteenth episode of The Hüb, where Mariana Salvaterra from Zühlke in Portugal talks about the benefits and challenges of opening the third global delivery centre.

1. We chose Porto for a reason…or several

When Zühlke was shortlisting countries for a third global delivery centre, they had several criteria in mind. Portugal and Porto ended up being chosen because they had a good mixture of all of them.

Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal, so we have all the conveniences of a big city but still have that small city feeling where everyone feels welcome and you can get to know your way around quite easily.

You have the mild climate, close to the beach and the river, with an average of 220 sunny days per year. Then there is a good balance between the cost of living and salaries. Did you know that for expats we are the European country of choice, ranking 1st when it comes to expat quality of life, personal happiness, ease of settling in, feeling at home and local friendliness? This made Portugal a great addition to the group to attract talent from other countries as well.

The Portuguese talent pool was also a big factor, of course. Our country is 2nd highest in Europe in the share of engineering graduates per year – Porto’s macro region alone has about 3,000 IT graduates per year and more than 50,000 STEM students in the Greater Porto Region. So it is a booming market for IT, and we have lots of great IT companies and start-ups.

2. Opening a new Zühlke office wasn’t easy

So the company in Portugal was created in December 2020 in the middle of the pandemic. We celebrate our anniversary on the 1st of  March, because that was the date the first team member hired for  Zühlke Portugal joined us!

Zühlke has an interesting way of starting new branches: someone from Zühlke who knows and embodies the culture of the company is asked to move: pack everything and move to a new country to help kick start the new office, bringing in the Zühlke culture. They had to move during the pandemic, it was challenging, but they fell in love with Portugal and Porto.

We could not open the office at the time: Portugal had a mandatory working from home policy across the country, so it’s great that we have a lot of technology that helped bring everyone together even if it was virtually, and being a part of the Zühlke group also helped overcome those first months' challenges, of course.

3. We welcome people who share our values

The colleagues that relocated embody the Zühlke culture, so that was what they started looking for in the new hires: people who value transparency, open communication, and collaboration. People who are able to work and grow together as a team. Engineers who will work in a new location and contribute to a wider group.

The majority of people in our office are still fairly young developers, mostly from Portugal. We are also starting to welcome some colleagues from abroad, who have decided to relocate. We welcome not only Portuguese talent but anyone who wants to change countries and join us. We still struggle to reach senior engineers in Portugal. I believe we need to work this year on raising awareness of Zühlke Portugal. The market is booming, and remote work options are on the table for a lot of companies, who are also targeting the great talent pool that we have in Portugal. It has been hard to get direct applicants from middle and senior levels, and we hope that as we become better known on the market as an employer of choice, we’ll get more replies to our direct contacts.

Hopefully, anyone reading this will know that Portugal is a great place to live and work, and they will want to move and join us!

4. Everyone’s voice is heard

I’ve worked with several companies in Porto over the years. As you grow and change companies, you find what you love in your company’s working environment and what you don’t. One thing I won't give up on is the ability to involve everyone in decisions that we have to take as a company. Everyone can bring something to the discussion, especially those working on the project.

You can look at a problem from different angles. It is important to involve everyone in the decision-making process so that we all understand the pros and cons of why we are doing something. In leadership, it is really important to let everyone voice their opinion but also to understand why the company makes a certain decision. This way both we and the business grow.

Bonus advice for technologists

Sometimes people look for a job that will let them work on a specific technology. Technology is evolving every day, so look for a place to work where you can grow, collaborate and learn from others, because you can always learn technology by yourself, but the way you approach a problem, design the solution, and then use the technology that’s best for that specific case, is central to being a successful and fulfilled technologist. Technology is a tool to serve our purpose. So understand the problem, figure out the best solution, and then the technology that will help you deliver that solution. This is the way to do it.

Contact person for Portugal

Mariana Salvaterra

CEO Portugal

As an experienced team leader with a Master's in Informatics and over a decade of experience, Mariana Salvaterra understands the challenges of leading software engineering teams and the importance of nurturing team culture and enabling talent retention and growth strategies.

As General Manager for Zühlke Portugal, Mariana focuses on the country’s operation while fostering a thriving workplace culture that enables high-quality and innovative solutions for our clients.

Mariana is passionate about unlocking the potential in every individual to enable them to do their best work and realise their aspirations.

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