Cape Town to London – Relocation through the eyes of a recruiter

Darren Burns 19.10.2018

Moving abroad is always daunting and moving to London into a new role as a recruitment consultant is quite the change in pace of living, as well as working.

Setting out as a recruiter in London

8201.1 miles is the distance separating Cape Town and London. Relocation is never an easy task, but having such a large distance between what was once home and what I now call home makes the move even more surreal. It has been exactly 6 months, 10 days, and however many hours since I landed on this island, and it has been non-stop for the entire time.

In these last 6 months, I have moved halfway across the world, organised a wedding, got married back on South African soil, had to leave my husband behind, had my husband join me on holiday in the UK, had my husband leave me again returning to South Africa to apply for his visa, and have been working full time as a recruiter alongside all that.

Recruitment is much the same in every country. It’s fast paced, ruthless, and by no means an easy job. We are in the people business, and people don’t really change wherever you go in the world. The things that are different are the clients’ pace, recruiters themselves and the connections.

A world renowned pace of work

The UK (most specifically London) has a reputation of being fast paced, demanding long working hours, and requires you to go above and beyond in every aspect of your career. This differs slightly from Cape Town. ‘Capetonians’ work hard and play hard, their lives revolve around sun, beach and wine. On average in Cape Town once a role is released to a recruiter, it will take 3 months to fill that position. In London, once a role is released the turnaround time averages from 1 to 2 months. The pace at which clients work in London is commendable, however, it is also expected in order to keep one of the world’s largest financial hubs running.

Knowledgeable and specialist recruitment consultants

There are often mixed emotions from people once you announce that you are a recruiter. The common responses to that fact are either – “oh...” or “can you get me a job?” This does not change from country to country. However, the niche specialism of recruiters in London is astounding. The level of knowledge recruiters have in their specific market outrivals some candidates that work in the profession. There is no such thing as a generalist recruiter, like you would come across in Cape Town. In London, each recruiter specialises in a discipline, and further specialises in which area they will focus on within that discipline, and even further specialise into what industry they will recruit for in that ‘super’ specialist discipline.

Last but not least, network, network, network. London revolves around connections and networks. The saying, “it’s not about what you know, it’s who you know” could not be truer anywhere else than in London. There is a trust surrounding the city that is unlike anything I have experienced before - if the connection and relationship is there, the clients will listen. It’s a challenge to get into these circles, but once you are in, just know you have created a relationship for life.

Darren Burns's picture
Operations Director
dburns@morganmckinley.co.uk