Job hunting on small Islands can be challenging, right?

Job hunting on small Islands can be challenging, right?

The Job Market / February 4th, 2016

You live and work in a small jurisdiction, probably offshore and probably an Island, though not necessarily. We’re talking about the sort of small international communities like the Isle of Man or Channel Islands, Malta – an Island but not technically ‘offshore’, and Gibraltar – ‘offshore’ but not actually an Island!

The important thing is they have relatively small and very tight-knit business communities. Whilst this is generally a positive thing that makes them into very agile economies, it can nevertheless cause all kinds of issues when looking for a job. We’ve helped hundreds of people through that process, so we thought it was high time someone addressed the issues – and how to handle them!

It’s not a lack of jobs, in most instances. All of these jurisdictions have low unemployment rates that are the envy of continental politicians and as a result usually plenty of open jobs. This is particularly true in fields such as technology and ICT, with growing tech sectors such as gaming driving demand for these skills extremely high.

Confidentiality

Instead, the biggest problem is confidentiality. In somewhere as massive as London or Berlin it’s easy to get to a job interview without the danger of running into anyone you know, but in small jurisdictions not so much! Even mentioning a job search to the wrong person can easily get back to your current employer – this is usually a result of carelessness rather than maliciousness on the part of people you know, but it can happen all the same.

Yet there is a balance to be had – total secrecy and isolation are not advisable when considering something as serious as a job move, because you need people to provide advice and support. The benefit of an external perspective can be invaluable when considering the merits of an offer, reviewing your CV, practising for an interview, profiling prospective employers, or even picking an outfit, for example. So who should you speak to? It obviously depends who you can trust, but we would usually recommend keeping discussions of job moves to your immediate family and, if you have one, anyone you consider as a mentor outside of your current company.

Ultimately, however, not everyone has family or mentors that knows the local jobs market (especially people who have moved ‘away from home’ to these jurisdictions for work), and this is when it becomes tempting to ask for advice from friends, acquaintances in relevant industries, and sometimes even co-workers.

It may sound self-serving, given what we do, but we would honestly argue there is a better way: get a really good recruitment consultant. A really great agency will give you absolute confidentiality and a professional assessment of the jobs market, the right employers for you, and the right methods for catching their attention. Whilst it may sound a little cloak and dagger, we are well-versed in keeping the whole process under-wraps until you are ready to ‘go public’ with a move!

Rivalries

The other big problem with small jurisdictions is that the close confines often breed even stronger inter-company rivalries, particularly amongst companies that target clients within the local market, such as legal and accounting firms. This can make some people reluctant to leave their existing employer for fear of burning bridges, both personal and business. It can also discourage candidates from approaching rival firms for fear of how the information that they are ‘looking around’ might be used.

Again, a good agency can help. Applying via a professional intermediary helps to protect everyone involved, mostly through the benefits of great experience in how and when to communicate with all the different stakeholders. There’s obviously no magic way of making other people behave better, but a good recruiter does know how to handle these issues with tact.

So if you’re considering a move within a small jurisdiction, just drop us a line to see if we can help with any of these issues.