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A thriving community
of talented people
Porto is home to a talented and highly skilled workforce, along with a world-class education system, making it a top choice for companies looking to thrive in today's knowledge-based economy.

Highly-educated and diverse 
Talent is one of the main drivers of Porto's recent success in attracting a growing number of companies. The city's workforce is highly educated, with over 30% of residents holding a higher education degree. This well-educated workforce is also flexible, open, committed, multicultural, and multilingual, making it well-suited to the challenges of today's knowledge-based economy.

The number of university students in Porto has been steadily increasing, reaching a new record level in the 2022-2023 academic year. Close to 91,000 students are currently enrolled in universities in the Porto Metro Area, with over 70,000 studying in the city of Porto itself.

Porto also has a long history of attracting talented individuals from the surrounding region* of North-Western (NW) Portugal, which has a total of 190,000 university students and produces 42,000 graduates per year. These numbers reflect the robust demand for higher education in the region and the availability of highly skilled and talented individuals for businesses and organizations.

The rise in higher education enrollment in Porto and NW Portugal (# students)

190,000 students enrolled in universities
in Porto and NW Portugal
Source: INE (2022-23)
42,000 graduates per year from universities
in Porto and NW Portugal
Source: INE (2021-22)
* NW Portugal is composed of the Porto Metro Area and the neighboring NUTS 3 regions of Alto Minho, Cávado, Ave, Tâmega e Sousa, Aveiro Region, Coimbra Region, and Viseu Dão Lafões.

Not only is the talent in Porto highly educated, but it is also diverse, with around 27,000 foreign students from 150 countries currently enrolled in higher education institutions in NW Portugal, about half of whom study in the Porto Metro Area. This diversity of perspectives and backgrounds is a major asset for companies looking to tap into new ideas and approaches. It enhances the diversity and multiculturalism of the region, creating an environment that is conducive to innovation and adaptability.

Portugal is also highly regarded for its strong language skills. According to IMD’s World Talent Ranking 2023, Portugal ranks as the 10th best country in the world in terms of language skills meeting the needs of enterprises. The EF English Proficiency Index 2023 also recognizes Portugal as the 8th country in the world with the highest average English proficiency among non-native speakers.

Porto, in particular, stands out for its very high level of English proficiency compared to other European cities, making it a suitable location for companies doing business on an international level.

Average English skills across Continental Europe

In addition to its education and diversity, the talent in Porto is also highly creative. The city has a thriving arts and culture scene, with numerous galleries, theatres, and music venues. This creative energy is contagious and can be felt in the city's workplaces as well, making Porto a great location for companies looking to develop new projects.

32% of residents in Porto hold a higher education degree Source: INE (2021)
3rd best city in English skills in Southern Europe Source: EF Education First (2022)

World-class universities
The quality of talent in Porto and NW Portugal can be attributed, in large part, to the region’s education system, which houses nearly half of Portugal's universities. The region has 45 higher education institutions, divided into 116 schools and faculties. About half of these institutions are located in the Porto Metro Area, including the highly respected and ranked University of Porto and Porto Polytechnic.

Top universities in Porto and NW Portugal

The University of Porto is the oldest university in the city and the 2nd largest in Portugal, with close to 36,000 students and 14 faculties, including two of the top engineering and business schools in the country. The Porto Polytechnic is the largest and most prestigious polytechnic in the country, with close to 22,000 students and a strong focus on science and technology.

Some of the city's strongest fields include engineering, technology, and business, but there is also a strong presence in areas such as healthcare and life sciences.
 One of the factors contributing to the quality of the education system in Porto is the emphasis on experiential learning and applied research, particularly in STEM fields.

Annual graduates by field of education

45 universities and higher education institutions in NW Portugal Source: DGEEC (2021-22)
32% of graduates in Porto and NW Portugal
study STEM fields
Source: INE (2021-22)

In collaboration with local and international companies, both the University of Porto and Porto Polytechnic, as well as other institutions in the region, offer students and researchers the opportunity to gain practical experience and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. These valuable experiences not only benefit the participants but also the economy and the city as a whole, as they foster innovation and drive growth.

The city also supports new initiatives such as 42 Porto and SWitCH, that offer innovative and practical learning approaches, like peer-to-peer collaboration and 100% free practical learning, to teach coding and IT skills through partnerships with local and international companies. These approaches are designed to provide students from diverse academic backgrounds with valuable hands-on experience and skills that are highly sought after in the industry.

In addition to teaching and research, the education system in Porto is placing an increasing focus on internationalization. Most higher education institutions in the region have partnerships with universities around the world, and there is a growing number of programs taught in English. This international perspective helps to prepare students for the global job market and adds to the diversity and adaptability of the talent in Porto.

The education system in Porto plays a crucial role in the development and success of the city’s talent community. Its focus on research, practical experience and internationalization fosters the development of highly skilled and innovative individuals, making it a valuable asset for businesses and a key contributor to the city's economic prosperity.
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