There are a few things in life that we feel are for “others,” but not for ourselves.
Owning a Porsche, food shopping in Harrods or taking every Friday and Monday off could be examples; but there are a good few other instances that are less out of reach than they seem. Having a stint working abroad could be one of those!
Where skills and knowledge are transferable, and language is not a barrier, taking a role abroad can broaden horizons and provide unique experiences that would never have come to fruition at home. Recruitment is an industry that lends itself well to international moves, and UK recruiters are some of the best qualified in the business plus they come from a mature market…there are many benefits to be enjoyed for those who take the plunge.
However, there are many more who don’t even consider it.
On a business trip last month to our offices in Singapore and Sydney, it struck me that their candidate shortages can be alleviated in a way that a UK candidate shortage cannot. Recruitment businesses in these regions need to market themselves more actively to the UK recruiter base. We need to make candidates in the UK more open to an international move – and to demonstrate to them what they could enjoy.
For a UK candidate with a decent record of billing and a solid knowledge of their market, if their personal circumstances allow for a couple of years abroad – or longer, it strikes me as a no-brainer. Many more senior candidates travel with families (although school fees can be prohibitive) and a fair few younger ones actually stay and put down roots – of course if one travels and finds love...new job, new life, new relationship, new everything! The UK market is becoming squeezed at both ends by technology that enables companies to recruit more effectively for themselves and a tsunami of solopreneur recruiters working in ever smaller micro-niches. Working abroad simultaneously relieves this pressure and also gives you a unique life experience.
Of course, there has to be a significant amount of commitment from both sides. The recruiter has to feel that their future employer believes in them and will support them in the transition (sometimes financially and definitely in terms of guidance re where to live, what paperwork and medical checks are needed) and in return the employer has to be assured that the individual is worth the investment and will make the transition. Having said this, despite the geographical distance, securing an international role is not always so much more complicated that a local one. The level of bureaucracy is higher with visa and tax implications, but once that has been dealt with, the considerations are much the same as any other move.
Except you can chose to be moving to Sydney instead of Leeds! You can have weekends away in different locations – not return to Blackpool and Devon (much as you might like those beaches too!)
Choosing where to work is far from easy and I hope that we are able to offer some sage advice in this area. Sydney is a different beast to Brisbane, and Singapore is a whole world again, but with hundreds of placements under our belts we have a feel for where you might thrive. Often a candidate has family and friends abroad too which is a draw – maybe they’ve visited before and liked it.
It is true to say that it always makes sense to have a back-up plan just in case you want to return. Keeping in contact with your old network is crucial and will help to smooth your journey back home – the activities of many “expat” recruiters online help to maintain their visibility and make those initial enquires that little bit easier. Making the move back isn’t always the easiest sell, but in my view the transferrable skills and varied experiences are worth their weight in gold.
It might not be forever, and if it is well that’s fine too - however a few years abroad can definitely give you a real sense of accomplishment, joy and that added extra dimension!
Written by Julie O'Neill
Julie O'Neill is currently working on several roles in the US for an established brand in growth mode; her client is looking to attract well-trained, successful staff that have been trained and tutored in the UK and have a good track record within Accounting and Finance, Sales and Marketing or Technical, who now want to move to America – several locations available! The roles are from consultant and billing levels (for those with a longevous career history) through to director level roles at c$120-$150k US. These are attractive opportunities for those who want to experience life internationally - but are also prepared to work hard and maximise the business opportunities because it’s an intense market in the US, and you will need to be able to handle that.
If interested and want to learn more about these opportunities, please contact Julie O'Neill on ✆ 07713 643761 or ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org
Exactly a year ago today, I accepted my offer here in the Cayman Islands, having completed an interview process with McCall, and began the process of relocating to the other side of the world. A year on, it feels like a distant memory and at the time, I just really didn’t know what to expect. If I’m honest, I don’t think you’re ever 100% certain things are going to work out or even if you’re making the right decision, but it’s been a fantastic move for my wife and I - I’d recommend it to anyone!
I started with a firm called SteppingStones in the Cayman Islands, and they just couldn’t have been better. I wasn’t unhappy in my previous role but was ready for a change and they have been really helpful. Moving in recruitment is a daunting experience but when you work with the right rec to rec agency and pick the right firm and have the right support, it’s much easier than you might think!
It takes a while to build a desk of course but I’m really starting to do well and enjoying every minute. The recruitment market here is very different to what I’m used to and it’s been both fun and a challenge adapting. We work on such a variety of roles as well so it’s been interesting learning new markets and skills. You never want to pigeon-hole yourself and this change has really helped ensure I keep my CV diverse as well as continuing my learning and developing. If I’m honest, I was probably suffering from a bit of ‘burn-out’ in my last role and this move has really helped that and I’ve a spring in my step again. I’ve even been on the radio on 3 separate occasions advertising new roles which was a great experience – even though I did need to heavily tone down my Scottish accent!
Outside work, living in Grand Cayman has been amazing. The lifestyle is incredible and it’s been so easy to settle in and adapt. The weather is great year round and I can’t tell you what a difference it makes to have constant sunshine and nice weather. As it’s a small location, it’s also very easy to meet people and the networking opportunities are immense, so I’ve made some great friends and business contacts since my arrival.
One of the things I really enjoy is the diversity, you meet people from all over the world, so it’s very multi-cultural; there’s something nice about a social group made up of people from all over the globe.
Being away from family can be tricky and you will miss things from home but the good honestly far out weighs the bad. We’ve already had family out visiting - and they are already planning their next trip. All in all, it really couldn’t have been better and my only regret is not doing it sooner!
If you are a recruitment professional, wanting to re-locate internationally please contact the following at McCall:
Peter Mills – McCall – Singapore and Asia
☏ T +65 62366370 M +65 93582668
Lisa Norris – McCall Norris - Australia
☏ +61 411 182 024
Julie O’Neill – other International locations in particular Dubai.
☏ T +44 7713 643761 M +44 1992 643884
Written by Alistair Mills
Old Church House
Co No: 4605123
VAT Reg No: GB997323376