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Finding work in Argentina as an expat is probably the biggest hurdle facing those relocating to the country, because it has strict employment laws and high rates of unemployment. Expats who want to work in Argentina should consider transferring to the Argentinian branch of a multinational company from their home country or applying for jobs in industries that tend to hire foreign workers. In these cases, expats have a higher chance of employment. The company should also then sort out all the required visas and work permits.
Nowadays, there seems to be an increase in expats doing casual or online work rather than having a full-time job.
Job market in Argentina
Expats planning to look for work after entering Argentina may run into difficulties. Job opportunities for expats are limited, and local wages can be considerably lower than those some foreigners may be accustomed to. Most of the opportunities for expats are in the big cities, specifically in the banking, IT and oil sectors. Jobs in tourism and teaching also often hire expats, and these are industries where speaking English is necessary. Foreigners who speak Spanish and are willing to work for Argentinian wages, however, are more likely to find a job in other industries.
Alternatively, in recent years there has been a rise in casual jobs for those expats not wanting to stay for the long term. Generally, these jobs are more suitable for singles travelling for a limited time or for students. These jobs tend not to pay well and can often end up being on the dodgy side, with employers trying to avoid visas and legal routes of employment. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is popular, as well as working in journalism, call centres and bars or restaurants.
Finding work in Argentina
Getting a job in Argentina is not an easy task. The country is still recovering from multiple economic crises, which means job opportunities for foreigners are rather sparse. It is also necessary to speak a high level of Spanish to qualify for most jobs.
The easiest route to employment would be to find a job before relocating. Ideally, expats should try to find employment in an international company, an Argentinian company in need of highly skilled individuals or English speakers, or by transferring branches with their current employer.
Local job-hunting sites include Bumeran and ZonaJobs, and there are also international sites such as LinkedIn and Indeed.
Work culture in Argentina
Employment law (Ley de Contrato de Trabajo) in Argentina is extremely strict. It regulates all aspects of working life, from employee rights and conditions to wage protection and employee/employer obligations. By law, residents must be 18 years of age before they can start working in Argentina.
Generally speaking, the work day in Argentina is eight hours long. Outside of Buenos Aires, the siesta has to be taken into account. Working hours here are typically 8.30am to 12.30pm and then 4pm to 8pm. By law, employees should not work more than 48 hours a week. People are not expected to work on Saturday afternoons and Sundays, although most shops are open all day Saturday.
Employees are paid 13 months' salary per year. This is a built-in bonus system that is mandatory according to Argentinian labour law. Half the bonus is paid in June and the other half in December. Workers in Argentina are entitled to 14 days annual leave after being employed for one year. This then increases according to years of service.
Argentinians are generally family-orientated people, which translates into the way they conduct business. Close, personal relationships are valued, respect is given to older associates, and more loyalty is often shown to individual people than to companies as a whole. It's extremely important for expats to network and build meaningful relationships if they want to succeed in the business world in Argentina.
See Doing Business in Argentina for more information on networking and workplace culture in Argentina.