Top tips to develop your finance career overseas

Published on: 11 May 2016

At the end of April 2016 myself and a colleague jumped on a plane and flew to the Channel Islands. Barely after we reached altitude we began the descent – it’s called Island Hopping for a reason. Now, I’m not usually one to be disorganised but the 3am wake up, the difficulty in sourcing an Uber and the consistent flagging through sleep inertia made the journey somewhat stressful. Fortunately however I was just transporting myself and not my life. I arrived at the airport safe in the knowledge I would have a house to return to, a social life and stability.

I dread to imagine how it would be if I was uprooting my entire life and trying to plant it in another country. The worry, the stress and the admin – it doesn’t bear thinking about.

As with any move, relocating for a job can be a complicated and stressful process. However, you can take heart in the fact that you’ve been recognized as an asset to your new company or office, usually employers are sympathetic to this and will look to make your move as smooth as possible.

It is however important to consider a number of different points:

What physically is involved in me relocating?
By this I refer to fixed assets that may need to be sold, utility bills wound down, subscriptions ended, finding tenants for your house if you are a property owner or moving your possessions.

How quickly can I do all of the above?
There is no point agreeing to moving across immediately after you have worked your notice period if actually you will need another couple of weeks to fully close of your affairs. Give yourself ample time to get yourself together. The first impression you want to give your new company is definitely not one of stress and disorganisation as you try to organise your life back home.

How much will it cost me?
By this I refer to both the actual cost of relocating but also sustaining yourself in your first month in your new home. I work with a lot of South Africans who get horribly stung by the exchange rates and the soaring cost of living. Most bigger firms will offer an advance on payment to get you spending sterling immediately, others won’t, be sure to know your relocation support extent and budget dependent on what your package includes. If your new employer doesn’t offer support, ask for it.

Research your new location
Take the time to come and visit your new home. Having spent time in a new location you will better prepare yourself for the cost of living there and be better prepared financially when you arrive. Furthermore there is no point in coming all that way and then realising that suddenly it is definitely not for you. Scout it out, do the research. Build a social network
As soon as you arrive you will realise that living in a new place and starting from scratch socially really is hard work and can be lonely. Try and scout out who your immediate colleagues will be before you arrive and try and organise drinks with them before you start work. Ultimately you will be spending more time with them than you do with anyone else so that’s a good place to start to make new friends.

In short: plan ahead. Utilize any relocation support offered and if things start to get too stressful remember why you’re doing it in the first place; because someone thinks you’re worth all the effort bringing you across.

Good luck.

Oli Phillips
Recruitment Consultant, Robert Walters

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