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Building a global construction career: “There’s a whole world out there”

Posted by Kirk Baker, Hays Business Manager on Tuesday, Feb 20, 2018

Name: Mike Morgan    Move to Canada to work for CB Ross | Hays Construction
Role: Senior Manager
Company: CB Ross Partners
Years’ Experience: 21 (post grad)
Time in current role: 15 months

What were the indicators that made you look towards a role in Canada?

Location was an important factor – not having a big network to rely on for childcare means my wife and I tend to split the drop off and pick up duties 50/50 – one drops off and the other picks up. I also was keen to work predominantly in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) to experience construction in a global city.

How did you go about the process and what help did you receive?

I got help from a move consultant through my wife’s work and as part of her relocation package. The consultant was useful as a regular slot to check back with a third party about what you have done that week to look for work sets a deadline and helps focus.

I had a good idea about where and how to look for suitable employers – tapping into Construction Networks and professional bodies is a good start just to understand who the players are. I also made some contacts through Linked in and via friends of friends in the UK.

In the end, I went to Hays as my preferred recruiter as I had good experience as a hiring manager in the UK, and as a candidate earlier in my career. The contact I met in Toronto was excellent and lined up specific interviews rather than taking the scatter gun approach that some other recruiters use. One of the first three companies he lined up was a company that I had targeted myself, so I knew that it was likely good match.

How easy was the interview process?

Pretty straight forward. I made sure I was honest about what I wanted from an employer and what my skillsets were and how transferable they are. I made a point of acknowledging that there would be a learning curve to transfer skills from UK to the Canadian culture.

Once you received your job offer, how soon did you move and how easy was the process?

I came without a job, once I started looking properly it took me about 4-6 weeks to find something I really wanted.

How much support did your employer give you to help you relocate?

I had some support through my wife’s work (it was her job that brought us over). My previous company is a global company with a global HR department. Despite an eagerness to retain me in the UK business, I found that in reality there was little appetite to explore an international transfer. 

How is your job different now to when you were living in the UK?

I notice health and safety standards are appalling compared to the standards we have become accustomed to in the UK. Not just the extreme measures that some people would criticize as being the nanny state, but fundamental safety like signing into a site, exposed edges without warning or a proper physical barrier. Given the cold winters I also thought that I would learn something about energy efficient construction, but as one guy said ‘Fuel is so cheap we just turn the heating up!’

What advice would you give to a construction professional looking to move abroad for work?

Do it. Working and living in another country has definitely broadened my outlook. The UK has its share of problems, but I think is generally a great place to live. It’s just that there’s a whole world out there and its energizing to be a part of that bigger picture.

Work for an industry leading real estate development company: Find out more about CB Ross today.

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