Local NI recruitment consultancy Abacus has recently achieved something of a milestone. It has now engaged more than 1,000 potential professional relocators and returners by providing much needed guidance and support through its successful Belfast for Life campaign. The Belfast for Life initiative launched in October 2015 and since then has seen partnerships with over 30 leading local businesses together. The campaign was designed to promote all that Northern Ireland has to offer to ex-pats and potential re-locators. A major focus centred upon educating people, based across the globe, on key local facts such as the well-priced property market, low commuting times, reasonable cost of living and great lifestyle events, not just the excellent job opportunities available. With the support of businesses such as Allen & Overy, A&L Goodbody, Augentius, Cayan, EY, Grant Thornton, Herbert Smith Freehills, Pinsent Masons, TPICAP and others, the awareness and interest raised at promotional events was significant.
Commenting on the success Founding Member Justin Rush said: “For too long, many of our most capable and gifted talent, upon completion of studies, have migrated to job opportunities in Dublin, London, and beyond. The accepted logic was that Belfast did not have enough high-calibre career opportunities to meet the demand.” According to Justin things have changed in recent years. “Working everyday with some of the most progressive organisations in the country, my team know that people from Northern Ireland, who have gained experience in UK, EU, US or further afield, are in high demand for job opportunities locally right now. Belfast has increasing demands for qualified and experienced Accountants, Lawyers and IT professionals. Our clients are always keen to engage with professionals that possess global/big-city experience.” So much so in fact, that Belfast is now becoming a venue of choice for professionals from other EU countries to live and work in. Noticeable populations of French, German and Dutch professionals have now developed in the city.
Listed below is four recent Belfast for Life relocator / returner experiences that we are delighted to feature as success stories:
Julien is an experienced software developer originally from Bordeaux in France. He has spent time living and working in France, Vietnam and Republic of Ireland over an eight year period before coming to Belfast. “Belfast is very cool and gives me everything that I need. It’s a modern city with a strong tech centre. I think more and more people will realise Belfast is a good place to be based from.”
Originally from South East England, Rory is a Senior Lawyer who has worked within leading firms in London, Dublin and now in Belfast. Rory now lives close to Belfast with his wife and children. “For me the work-life balance is much better here than where I lived previously. It’s also great to be among family and friends, plus housing is a lot more affordable than the south east of England. My job is similar to what I did previously, but the environment is much more collegiate. My career is still on track.”
Roisin is a Law graduate from John Moores University, who upon graduation travelled around South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand undertaking a number of office based positions along the way. Having that period of work and travel allowed her to gain experience of different cities and effectively assess what Belfast could offer her. “It was only while I was away living in other cities in Australia and New Zealand that I was able to appreciate all that we had on offer back home. “We have a strong base of high-quality businesses offering great opportunities alongside a developing social and cultural scene. Belfast has the feel of a growing city and I love being here while it continues to develop.”
Originally from Northern Ireland, Valerie trained and qualified as a Chartered Accountant and undertook assignments across Europe. She returned home after nearly 10 years of living and working in SE Asia and New Zealand. “When we decided to return to Belfast we didn’t know what to expect and we’ve been surprised at how easy it’s been to find new jobs, set up our home and develop a good social circle of friends after only a few months back in the city. Belfast has changed significantly since I last lived here and I believe it encapsulates the benefits of working in a ‘small city’ with all the ‘big city benefits’. Excellent work opportunities, re-connecting with family and friends and a re-vamped city have made the move back closer to home.
Encouraged by the feedback from participants in the campaign, the team have taken the Belfast for Life initiative on tour. Having already delivered meet-up events in Dublin and London to expat audiences in previous years, the team at Abacus are planning future events in Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow and beyond. The goal of the Belfast for Life team is to ensure ex-pats ‘bring their talent home.’
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