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Angola Job Market Overview

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Over the last 10 years, Angola has made a huge economic leap and now boasts one of the world’s fastest growths. Being the second biggest oil producer in Africa after Nigeria, Angola takes pride in an intense flow of foreign investments that creates lots of well-paid jobs. Technicians and executives from all over the world pursue involvement in the country’s booming oil, diamond, and gas industries even despite the cost of living in Angola’s capital is often called astronomical. Angola has lots of career opportunities for specialists in the mentioned fields, but it also has lots of challenges you need to reckon with.

Features of Angola’s Job Market

  • Except the mentioned industries the country is famous for, foreigners are also involved in the production of metals (copper, gold, and bauxite). As the country seriously lacks technicians, geologists, chemists, environmental scientists and engineers, other niches often require a foreign expertise. Thus, the government invited a Brazilian company for reconstruction and building new roads and a Chinese construction company for developing and building new complexes of residential property.
  • The local employment policy requires that native professionals must be employed over foreign manpower in certain niches; however, the shortage of highly skilled technicians still compels companies to seek for talents overseas. As the cost of living is extremely high in Angola, most contracting firms include housing, transport and education allowances in the employment package.
  • Expats usually live in well-maintained, secure, and comfortable suburb compounds packed with various facilities and have appointed drivers that help to handle huge distances from the suburb to the place of work. But not all employment situations are as described. A foreigner must research the conditions of work and calculate all possible expenses thoroughly before accepting the offer.
  • In order to protect their employees’ earnings, Angolan companies use  tax equalisation (aka hypo-tax) agreement. It implies that the contracting company pays the employee’s Angolan income tax and deducts from their salary the amount equal to the sum they would hypothetically pay as a tax in their home country. This way, working in Angola seems winning and reasonable for foreigners.
  • Expats aren’t allowed to leave Luanda neither for personal nor for work purposes unless the trip is organised and the security is guaranteed by the employer. This preventive measure is caused by the landmines that are left after the civil war.
  • The salaries are usually very high, but you should take into account that Luanda was dubbed as the planet’s most expensive city, so you shouldn’t accept an offer unless you make sure the salary is sufficient not only for everyday life but also for saving.

Finding a Job in Angola

To obtain the work visa, you need to be offered a job first. For investors and entrepreneurs, separate visa categories were developed.

Check Angola’s major oil companies for vacancies and see if your qualifications fit. The well-established corporations are Chevron, ExxonMobil, Total and BP. Your search shouldn’t be limited only to technical positions as sometimes these companies need experts for non-tech jobs (administrative and managerial staff). Check these companies’ websites for the vacancies as well as use job-hunting resources or recruitment services such as Jobofmine.com, Oilcareers.com, Findajobinafrica.com, and Rigzone.com. These resources are in English, but if you speak Portuguese also, you can try searching on such portals as Trabalho em Angola, Emprego Angola or Portal do Emprego.

Please, keep in mind that if you decide to take along your spouse or a dependent, your visa doesn’t allow them to work in Angola. Only a personal work visa opens the door to employment in this country. Volunteering isn’t prohibited, so if the employee’s family members pursue contributing to the Angolan society, they can inquire about available volunteer programs at their native embassies in Luanda.

Work Visa

Once you have the job contract with an Angolan company and you are satisfied with the employment conditions, the work visa is granted through the application made by the employer (must be a well-established company or a state-governed institution). The issued work permit allows a foreigner to occupy their position for a 12-month period with a permission to cross the Angolan border as many times as needed. The visa is issued for a specific employer and cannot be used for working for any other company.

For long-term contracts, Angolan employers have a right to test the employee during a 6-month probation period and end the contract in case of dissatisfaction without the approval of authorities. Employees, of course, can appeal to the labour court if a dispute arises. Workers are also guaranteed the right to have a maternity leave, strike, and participate in collective bargaining. When the employer decides to end the contract, they notify the authority in order to terminate the respective work visa. The employee shouldn’t overstay in the country; otherwise, such behaviour can negatively impact their visa history and be an obstacle for further employment or visit to the country.

Labour Culture

As the majority of Angolan investors come from the Western Europe and the US, western business standards and etiquette are adopted here. It doesn’t, however, mean that you won’t notice the difference in the working style as the Angolans approach business in another way. They are unhurried in making well-informed decisions, so they will probably need more time to weigh all pros and cons.

Most companies and offices are open from Monday to Friday, but banks and authorities have a slightly shorter working week as they close earlier on Fridays. Making an appointment, be prepared for getting the appointment cancelled or rescheduled the very last minute. The Angolans do not plan appointments too far in advance, so they reconsider the schedule every day.

The language is an important matter to consider when making an appointment. Don’t expect to hear English from receptionists and junior staff; usually, only senior employees speak English. Most people in Angola speak Portuguese and another local language.

The dress code must be smart. Men usually don’t wear jackets and ties because of the hot climate, but women are expected to be fully suited (a smart skirt or trousers and a jacket).

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