Whether you work for a global law firm or one of the Big Four accountancy practices, securing an internal transfer to work abroad can be anything but straightforward… even making the request can be risky.
Why transfer requests can be risky
If your employer has an offshore presence (for example, in the Channel Islands, the Caribbean or Bermuda), it’s tempting to assume that requesting an internal transfer to one of these destinations will be the simplest and safest option if you want to go.
This is often not the case, however.
Why is this?
First off, transfers – as opposed to secondments – involve resigning from your present national firm and rejoining as an employee of the overseas affiliate. This means you are leaving your home office, and you need to appreciate the thought process your employer will go through when you make the request:
- Having subsidised your training contract, your office will not be motivated to see you leave as soon as you are qualified, particularly (paradoxically) if you are a ‘Strong Performer’ and deserve the opportunity more than others
- Your office may insist that you stay on for another busy season (if you’re with an audit firm, for example) as the quid pro quo for sanctioning your request. This extracts maximum value for them – but also puts you back a year
- They may also try to lock you into returning to your old job afterwards
- Here you should take particular care: After a spell abroad, it’s virtually guaranteed that you won’t want to go back; you’ll have ‘been there, done that’ and there will be more tempting alternatives
- That’s another reason why many offices are reluctant to encourage a move offshore – the traffic is purely one way as far as they are concerned
Second, the simple act of registering interest in a move will alert your office to the fact that you don’t see your long-term future with them:
- This need not be a problem – provided you are successful in your request – but it does become an issue if your request does not get supported; you may have inadvertently torpedoed your prospects of progression where you are
- The dilemna, of course, is that you have no way of finding out whether your request will be successfully acceded to until you ask the question
It would be useful if you could find out the answer to your transfer request before asking the question, and without unnecessarily exposing yourself too soon.
So what is the solution?
Going through a third party can be safer
Using an intermediary has many useful advantages:
- We help with internal transfers by confidentially putting you directly in touch with the key decision-maker in the overseas office – so you can ‘test the water’ first to see if the move is a practical option
- This means you avoid risk. You don’t jeopardise your standing in your current office until such a time as you know that the transfer is highly likely/certain to take place
- You get the benefit of CV advice and guidance on proper preparation for interviews, as well as support in negotiating the best deals on job offers and input on how best to approach the visa process
- You broaden your range of opportunities to include openings with other employers as well as with your own company. There are no major offshore companies we do not have contacts with. Signing up with a ‘one-stop shop’ means you cast your net wider, resulting in more options and accordingly enjoying a greater chance of success
To wrap up, if you’re thinking of moving offshore, do consider leveraging the expertise and connections of a specialist, independent recruiter: you’re almost certain to get an improved outcome. Why take a risk?
See also: 12 Reasons Why You MUST Use a Recruiter
If you are a lawyer or chartered accountant and interested in working in the Bermuda/Caribbean region, visit our jobs portal to see the latest vacancies. Our site also includes a downloadable All You Need to Know guide which will tell you all you need to know about living and working offshore.