Brazil is the fifth-largest country in the world with a population of over 200 million. Additionally, the nation is dominated by the Amazon River and the largest rain forest in the globe. The personal income tax rate in Brazil is 27.5% while the standard corporate rate stands at 15%. However, other taxes such as a financial transactions tax have an effective rate of 34%. The general tax burden is 32.2% of overall domestic income. Between 2016 and 2019, the government spending for the country amounted to 38.6% of the GDP. The public debt is equal to 84% of GDP as of 2019.
What’s the average salary in Brazil? The average salary in Brazil is $32,506 per year, $2,709 per month, and $16 per hour (as of 2019). Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia offer some of the highest salaries at $37,859, $37,561 and $37,446 per annum respectively.
Companies in Brazil typically provide several benefits to their employees. Such benefits include healthcare, life insurance and scholarships. In addition to the benefits, employers also have to meet certain regulations, like providing a meal and transportation to the workers. In terms of the economy, Brazil has the ninth largest economy globally by nominal GDP and its unemployment rate is 11.8% (as of Oct 2019). For any expat wondering, what is the Brazil average household income? What’s the minimum wage in Brazil? What is the average salary Rio de Janeiro? What is the cost of living in Brazil in US dollars? Read on for more details.
Average Salary in Brazil
An expat seeking employment or wishing to start a business in Brazil might ask how much workers earn on average. In order to clarify this matter, I’ve chosen some of the main professions in Brazil and their average yearly salaries.
- Accountant: $21,811 (91,169 BRL)
- Human Resources Manager: $43,983 (183,846 BRL)
- Lawyer: $48,794 (203,956 BRL)
- Sales Manager: $49,471 (206, 783 BRL)
- General Manager: $55,978 (233,984 BRL)
- Project Manager: $37,824.62 (158,088 BRL)
- Administrative Assistant: $17,823 (74,491 BRL)
- Receptionist: $24,611 (102,861 BRL)
- Secretary: $16,667 (69,658 BRL)
- Computer Technician: $25,386 (106,102 BRL)
- Civil Engineer: $30,260 (126,471 BRL)
- Engineer: $28,791 (120,331 BRL)
- Electrical Engineer: $32,463 (135,680 BRL)
- Mechanical Engineer: $32,779 (137,010 BRL)
- Developer/Programmer: $29,701 (124,144 BRL)
- Elementary School Teacher: $22,663 (94,727 BRL)
- Secondary School Teacher: $27,583 (115,291 BRL)
- Teacher: $25,882 (108,182 BRL)
- Nurse: $25,704 (107,439 BRL)
- Pharmacist: $38,189 (159,623 BRL)
- Dentist: $75,208 (314,294 BRL)
- Waiter/Waitress: $18,805 (78,584 BRL)
- Travel Agent: $27,323 (114,182 BRL)
- Hotel Manager: $48,152 (201,228 BRL)
- Flight Attendant: $28,157 (117,671 BRL)
- Executive Chef: $28,849 (120,563 BRL)
The Brazil Labor Code mandates that employee salaries should be paid in the official Brazilian currency. Usually, compensation comprises not only one’s fixed salary, but also possible commissions, bonuses, fringe benefits and living expenses. Moreover, the Federal Constitution prohibits decrease of compensation, unless through a collective bargaining agreement.
Though some exceptions apply, compensation must be paid to employees at least monthly. Every employee is entitled to get a Christmas bonus equivalent to one monthly wage per annum. Half of the Christmas bonus should be paid by 30th November, and the remainder on or before 20th December.
The regular working period in Brazil can’t exceed 8 hours daily and 44 hours weekly. One-hour break for rest and having a meal is a mandatory requirement for employees who work for over 6 hours per day. In addition to that, employees have a right to a paid weekly rest period preferably on every Sunday.
Compensation for any overtime work needs to be at least 50% more than the compensation for regular work.
However, some employees aren’t entitled to overtime pay and are not subject to working hour limits under the Labor Code. Such employees include:
- Workers who conduct activities outside the company’s facilities, which aren’t compatible with the defined working hours
- Employees that occupy trust positions, e.g., Managers
- Employees who work at home
Employers are obliged to offer a healthy and safe workplace to their employees. They must also comply with mandatory regulations relating to health and safety issues. Certain regulations provide strict rules regarding mandatory periodical medical examinations, environmental risks prevention, allowances and ergonomics etc.
Brazil doesn’t have a legal provision for complaint procedures. In general, all employees have a right to file labor claims relating to an employment relationship. They can file labor claims while in active duty or within 2 years after the termination date.
Brazil Average Household Income
Just about 10% of the population holds 43.3% of Brazil’s whole income. The 10% richest in the northeastern region of the country hold the highest share of earnings (45%). On the other hand, the upper 10% in the southern region hold 37.2% of the earnings.
The average per-capita household income in Brazil is approximately $37.5 (1,271 BRL) per month. Of the overall national wage bill of $77.6 (263.1 BRL), the richest 20%’s share is more than 80%.
Minimum Wage in Brazil
The National Minimum Wage of a country is the lowest salary per hour/day/month that employers can legally pay to employees.
In Brazil, The National Minimum Wage as established by law is $240 (998 BRL) per month (as of October 2019). Minimum wages for the country averaged $104 (433.21 BRL) per month from 1994 to 2019.
Average Salary Rio de Janeiro
The average salary in Rio de Janeiro is $18 (75 BRL) /hour, $3,127 (13,082 BRL)/ month, and $37,528 (156,989 BRL)/year. Some of the occupations with the highest salaries in this city include:
- Attorney: $54,838 (229,090 BRL)
- Chief Executive Officer (CEO): $82,264 (343,460 BRL)
- Chief Financial Officer (CFO): $72,918 (304,438 BRL)
- Creative Director: $38,501 (160,745 BRL)
- Dentist: $88,136 (367,977 BRL)
- Electrical Engineer: $37,442 (156,282 BRL)
- General Manager: $66,052 (275,700 BRL)
- Hotel Manager: $51,565 (215,233 BRL)
- Human Resources Manager: $48,375 (201,916 BRL)
- Pharmacist: $42,127 (175,856 BRL)
- Pilot: $44,774 (186,903 BRL)
- Project Manager: $42,641 (178,090 BRL)
- Sales Manager: $55,110 (230,165BRL)
Rio de Janeiro is one of the wealthiest Latin American cities. It has a diverse economy, which is mainly dominated by finance, manufacturing and tourism. In addition to benefiting from its abundant natural resources, Brazil also has a huge population, which allows for business scalability. Moreover, Rio de Janeiro in particular is still basking in the fact that it hosted the 2014 football world cup and the 2016 Olympics. Hosting those events boosted the tourism sector to almost 10% of local GDP.
Rio’s pace of economic growth is impressive, which was one of the arguments favoring it to host the 2016 Olympics. The city was Brazil’s capital for hundreds of years before Brasilia took the title in 1960. Rio is home to numerous long established local and international companies who support its economic growth.
Similar to all the large Brazilian cities, Rio has a large expat population, which has access to lucrative career opportunities. Mining, oil and gas industries are booming sectors in Rio offering many jobs to locals and foreigners. Additionally, expats have a chance to work as English teachers in established schools or as private tutors in Rio. Vacancies in the hospitality sector are also worth checking out because of Rio’s developed tourist industry.
Cost of Living in Brazil in US Dollars
It may come as a surprise to many that Brazil’s cost of living is relatively high. However, it’s less expensive to live in the country’s rural areas than in the cities, though some costs are still high.
Expenses vary widely across sectors. Generally, accommodation, transport and manufactured products are pricey. The food prices are variable depending on whether a person eats out or cooks meals at home. Additionally, services are relatively cheap, because of the low labor costs.
The country has made significant effort in moving citizens out of extreme poverty over the last ten years and in reducing income inequality. But, still vast disparities exist in wealth between the richest people and the poorest ones.
Expats earning an international salary are among the wealthy populations, and even those with a local salary are firmly in the upper middle class.
Brazil is still well behind the USA and Western Europe when it comes to overall development. However, expats here still have access to utmost conveniences available elsewhere in the world.
Taking a meal at an inexpensive restaurant is $4.79 in Brazil. A three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant costs $23.93. Moreover, 1 liter of milk goes for $0.76, a loaf of bread is $1.32 and 1kg of white rice costs $0.84. A dozen eggs go for $1.37, a kilogram of chicken breasts sell at $2.76 and 1kg of beef round costs $5.91. Lastly, a kilogram of apples have a price of $1.41, one head of lettuce sells for $0. 62 and 1kg of bananas go for $0.92.
In terms of transportation, a one-way ticket for public transport goes at $0.97 and a monthly bus pass costs $45.46. One liter of gasoline goes for $1.04.
Household utilities cost about $70.39 per month in Brazil. A minute of prepaid mobile tariff is $0.31 without discounts or plans. Furthermore, the cost of 60Mbps or more of internet is $28.96.
Brazil is home to many banks, credit firms, insurance companies and mortgage lending institutions. People who buy their homes on credit usually incur a mortgage interest rate of 10.10% for a 20-year plan.
For renters, the rent per month for a 1-bed apartment in the city is $285.42. The same apartment costs about $195.91 outside the city center. A 3-bed apartment goes for $563.08 in the city and $403.40 in the city’s outskirts.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.