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Does working in the Caribbean tarnish work opportunities on return to the UK?

Does working in the Caribbean tarnish work opportunities on return to the UK?

Old Aug 9th 2011, 10:19 pm
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Default Does working in the Caribbean tarnish work opportunities on return to the UK?

I am a recently qualified accountant and I am seriously considering emigrating to the Caribbean, in particular Bermuda, BVI or Cayman Islands. As a newly qualfied, I wonder when I return to the UK to work will employers take the view that "I have been on holiday" for the last 2 years, as my colleagues have suggested. All opinions welcome!
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Old Aug 10th 2011, 12:46 am
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Default Re: Does working in the Caribbean tarnish work opportunities on return to the UK?

My husband has that view - that people go to the Caribbean because they cant hack it in the real world or just as a holiday or they are sent there by their company as no real work happens there!!
I guess it depends what you do - I work for a hedge fund (10 years) and our accountants are some of the best you can get - we are very knowledgeable about offshore securities and can take that knowledge anywhere but only within the specialised field of Alternative Investments, but just to hang out here doing audit for one of the Big Guys for a couple of years - yes wont be seen as a step up.. You either commit for the long haul or could be detrimental...
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Old Aug 11th 2011, 6:40 pm
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Default Re: Does working in the Caribbean tarnish work opportunities on return to the UK?

Originally Posted by NeedoutofUK View Post
I am a recently qualified accountant and I am seriously considering emigrating to the Caribbean, in particular Bermuda, BVI or Cayman Islands. As a newly qualfied, I wonder when I return to the UK to work will employers take the view that "I have been on holiday" for the last 2 years, as my colleagues have suggested. All opinions welcome!
I worked in St Lucia as did a friend of mine, when we both returned to the UK it was looked upon as a positive by both our new employers, that we had gone out and had experience of other cultures and ways of doing things. I would say it enhances your CV.

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Old Aug 13th 2011, 1:00 am
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Default Re: Does working in the Caribbean tarnish work opportunities on return to the UK?

I think your problem would more likley be one of having gained very restricted experience after qualifying rather than having taken an extended holiday. The problem with offshore locations is that you can´t get any experience of commercial/manufacturing businesses as if they do exist, they are insignificant . You may well get good experience of reinsurance/banking/finance house type which is Ok if you plan to continue in that area when returning to the UK. I would suggest you try to get into a multinational company in the Uk, that could hopefully offer you a temp/permanent transfer to somewhere else at a later stage
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Old Aug 13th 2011, 9:31 pm
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Default Re: Does working in the Caribbean tarnish work opportunities on return to the UK?

Originally Posted by NeedoutofUK View Post
I am a recently qualified accountant and I am seriously considering emigrating to the Caribbean, in particular Bermuda, BVI or Cayman Islands. As a newly qualfied, I wonder when I return to the UK to work will employers take the view that "I have been on holiday" for the last 2 years, as my colleagues have suggested. All opinions welcome!
Just in case there is any misunderstanding, you won't be emmigrating to Bermuda. Unless you marry and stay married to a Bermudian for ten years you will only ever be a temporary resident.

I would maybe think about getting a couple of years experience in UK before you go out there. I would be inclined to think that following this path straight after qualifying could be a path taken by someone more interested in partying than career. I do a lot of recruitment of accountants and would be more impressed with someone that has knuckled down to some hard work in London than gone to Caribbean to "experience different cultures".

I went to Bermuda for a couple of years but I was a bit older and CFO in a multinational when I was there so the "CFO" has enhanced my CV. I noticed when I first arrived that people in other country offices would make the automatic assumption that I was a bit of a lightweight and maybe a bit dim even based on some of the early correspondence I received. I soon put them straight though.
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Old Aug 14th 2011, 3:59 pm
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Default Re: Does working in the Caribbean tarnish work opportunities on return to the UK?

Hey guys thanks for all your thoughts!

It is a difficult one, I do intend to stay within Financial services work within a Big 4 and move back within a Big 4 in London. Which should hopefully give me some more credit.

I am thinking though, if people were to challenge me and say "could't hack it in the real world" I will be inclined to remind them of the dire state of London and the European economy as a whole and would ask them if they had the opportunity whether they too would grab hold with both hands...and feet!

The first move you make after qualifying is the most important in shaping your future career...Hence my dilemma do I work to live or live to work?
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Old Aug 14th 2011, 4:20 pm
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Default Re: Does working in the Caribbean tarnish work opportunities on return to the UK?

You can have both - a good life and a good career if you manage it properly. Totally agree with BermudaShorts. I would get some experience in London first, decide what area you'd like to specialise in and if that recs with what is being offered in the Caribbean/Bermuda then you have more to offer the new employer and hence more to bring back to London when the lure of the good life has worn off! Continuation and progression as you know is so important.
Gosh I went to Cayman for an 8 month contract and left 12 years later!
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Old Aug 14th 2011, 5:56 pm
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Default Re: Does working in the Caribbean tarnish work opportunities on return to the UK?

Originally Posted by NeedoutofUK View Post
The first move you make after qualifying is the most important in shaping your future career...Hence my dilemma do I work to live or live to work?
That really does not matter who you work for initially. What matters most is the kind of work exposure you get in the first few years. Maybe after two-three years of working in the UK, you can move with an institution that has offshore presence.

If you move to a Big 4 in the islands, the work you would b doing will be different, that working for a small to medium sized bank. Cayman is currently in contracting in the financial sector. Many hedge funds have shuttered down; but this is probably going to change as new regulations take effect.
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