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Is having local knowledge is important

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I have often heard it said that it is difficult to find work without 'local knowledge' - now I can see for some jobs that might be important - tour guide, taxi driver or perhaps some construction roles where the standards are different but for most jobs it really shouldn't make a difference. Certainly in my field it shouldn't but my experience since moving back to the UK has made me realise why it is harder for migrants.

 

After we moved back I spent about a month looking for work, this was probably longer than it had ever taken me previously & bearing in mind I had spent 10 years working in the UK, I was told for a number of roles I had not been successful as they wanted someone with more recent Financial Services experience - almost all the available roles here require banking experience (that's the local knowledge in Edinburgh), in Perth it was a very different 'local experience' & resources industry experience was king.

 

Having worked in both places I know categorically the job is the same but nonetheless when you're applying for jobs it matters.

 

I did get a banking job due to having a bit of a niche skill (or more claiming to based on a few months experience years back!) & I've had work since whenever I wanted it. After leaving the first job to travel when I got back a Programme Manager I worked with asked if I would be interested in working for her on a London based project that needed someone in Edinburgh - it was never advertised I just agreeed and that was that. 2+ years on the project is ending and before even applying for contracts a Project Manager I had also worked with at the bank got in touch and once I've finished where I am I will be going back. I did

have an interview with senior managers at the bank and there was a job spec that said 'xxxxx bank experience preferred' - I get the feeling the job spec was written for me but nonetheless it was clear 'local knowledge preferred' - okay it didn't say that but it amounts to the same thing.

 

Having been offered the role yesterday, I have now been asked if I know 3 people who would want to work for me.. so of course I will be looking to my local networks & yet the ideal person could be a new migrant desperate for their first UK role.

 

I'm not sure where I am going with this, really just saying that 'local knowledge' is just as important in the UK when it comes to gaining employment and just as irrelevant to actually doing the job for most professions.

 

Whatever direction you're moving networking is probably the key.

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I have often heard it said that it is difficult to find work without 'local knowledge' - now I can see for some jobs that might be important - tour guide, taxi driver or perhaps some construction roles where the standards are different but for most jobs it really shouldn't make a difference. Certainly in my field it shouldn't but my experience since moving back to the UK has made me realise why it is harder for migrants.

 

After we moved back I spent about a month looking for work, this was probably longer than it had ever taken me previously & bearing in mind I had spent 10 years working in the UK, I was told for a number of roles I had not been successful as they wanted someone with more recent Financial Services experience - almost all the available roles here require banking experience (that's the local knowledge in Edinburgh), in Perth it was a very different 'local experience' & resources industry experience was king.

 

Having worked in both places I know categorically the job is the same but nonetheless when you're applying for jobs it matters.

 

I did get a banking job due to having a bit of a niche skill (or more claiming to based on a few months experience years back!) & I've had work since whenever I wanted it. After leaving the first job to travel when I got back a Programme Manager I worked with asked if I would be interested in working for her on a London based project that needed someone in Edinburgh - it was never advertised I just agreeed and that was that. 2+ years on the project is ending and before even applying for contracts a Project Manager I had also worked with at the bank got in touch and once I've finished where I am I will be going back. I did

have an interview with senior managers at the bank and there was a job spec that said 'xxxxx bank experience preferred' - I get the feeling the job spec was written for me but nonetheless it was clear 'local knowledge preferred' - okay it didn't say that but it amounts to the same thing.

 

Having been offered the role yesterday, I have now been asked if I know 3 people who would want to work for me.. so of course I will be looking to my local networks & yet the ideal person could be a new migrant desperate for their first UK role.

 

I'm not sure where I am going with this, really just saying that 'local knowledge' is just as important in the UK when it comes to gaining employment and just as irrelevant to actually doing the job for most professions.

 

Whatever direction you're moving networking is probably the key.

for IT application development then yes business knowledge, or local knowledge is key. I got my first job in the UK because I did a similar role in Perth. Most industries will have some form of local knowledge that is required. But as always with recruitment, you get the best match for the job. If a carpenter has been working in Perth for ten years with good reviews you would take him over an unknown from overseas or eastern states. The higher the unemployment rate, the harder it is for migrants to get jobs. And the frustrating thing is that this can happen when times aren't that bad. Just a slight downturn and the migrants can suffer terribly, and everything looks fine for the locals, with maybe just the less desirable school leavers suffering.

 

It's hard being a migrant. Much better to go in boom times when they are giving jobs away.

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Well, I am no IT expert, but if your paying well......!

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I changed career when we came to Australia and I got into my new career firstly by volunteering and then getting asked to do a paid role- took off from there.

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Even working in the offshore/shipping sector in Australia the companies seem to want local experience, yet in my job a ship is a ship... Doesn't make a lot of sense, but go figure!

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I have been asked for local experience in mining, usually by HR and been very tempted to ask if the rocks smell different or something.

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I have been asked for local experience in mining, usually by HR and been very tempted to ask if the rocks smell different or something.
I imagine health and safety, environmental law and so on would differ quite dramatically?

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Is it local knowledge , or who you know ? I often think the term is used because they already have someone in mind for the position.

I can only go by our experience. UK to Aus , OH sent his resume to 5 different companies whilst still on the UK. 3 wanted to give us a 457 ( we didn't want that as already had PR. ) Last two asked for a telephone interview after which he had two job offers. Took a job, has constantly been approached since with more.

Myself, I waited until we made the move, applied for three jobs, got three interviews , got three jobs.

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Is it local knowledge , or who you know ? I often think the term is used because they already have someone in mind for the position.

I can only go by our experience. UK to Aus , OH sent his resume to 5 different companies whilst still on the UK. 3 wanted to give us a 457 ( we didn't want that as already had PR. ) Last two asked for a telephone interview after which he had two job offers. Took a job, has constantly been approached since with more.

Myself, I waited until we made the move, applied for three jobs, got three interviews , got three jobs.

 

I think it is 'who you know', although in my job (IT) they are looking for people who have experience in specific industries and that obviously varies depending where you live & yet it makes no difference to what I do at all - software is software, just like CaptainR says a ship is a ship!

 

I don't really know the purpose of my post, just really that 'local knowledge' is not an Australia only thing & whichever direction you are heading getting that first job can be difficult but once you do then it gets a lot easier.

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Posted (edited)

Is it local knowledge , or who you know ? I often think the term is used because they already have someone in mind for the position.

I can only go by our experience. UK to Aus , OH sent his resume to 5 different companies whilst still on the UK. 3 wanted to give us a 457 ( we didn't want that as already had PR. ) Last two asked for a telephone interview after which he had two job offers. Took a job, has constantly been approached since with more.

Myself, I waited until we made the move, applied for three jobs, got three interviews , got three jobs.

Not sure if I'm missing something, but I'm assuming you didn't know anyone before you went? Is your OH in oil and gas or some other in demand industry?

 

I got my current job by calling a mate after I was made redundant. Luck fell my way as I had worked there before, and they took me on 3 month contract without interview. That kept me going for a year, and I managed to convert the contract into a permie role and haven't looked back.

Edited by newjez

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I think it is 'who you know', although in my job (IT) they are looking for people who have experience in specific industries and that obviously varies depending where you live & yet it makes no difference to what I do at all - software is software, just like CaptainR says a ship is a ship!

 

I don't really know the purpose of my post, just really that 'local knowledge' is not an Australia only thing & whichever direction you are heading getting that first job can be difficult but once you do then it gets a lot easier.

 

 

But an interview is a bit like a beauty contest.

 

If you are competing against other candidates who have worked at Australian banks and you have only worked at overseas banks it seems less risky to the interviewer to hire the person who has the local experience.

 

That is not to say you couldn't do the job. But you are a bit different to the norm.

And that can sound risky, particularly if the interviewer has never worked overseas themselves.

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Anyone who doesn't want to employ you because you don't have local knowledge is probably not someone you want to work for anyway. If they can't recognise that people have transferable skills and understand what those skills are and how they can be used then what are they going to be like to work for? I also think the local knowledge thing is often a bit of an excuse to employee someone you already have in mind and have seen it in action several times.

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Anyone who doesn't want to employ you because you don't have local knowledge is probably not someone you want to work for anyway. If they can't recognise that people have transferable skills and understand what those skills are and how they can be used then what are they going to be like to work for? I also think the local knowledge thing is often a bit of an excuse to employee someone you already have in mind and have seen it in action several times.

 

Which , in a word is the problem with parochial places like adelaide, they will never break the mediocre narrowness and sub standard performance of the place, because they never give new experienced and brilliant people a chance, better stick with Brett or Scott or Hamish from that school on dequetteville terrace. pity, such resource squandered.

 

And if they do give creative , innovative , just and people of integrity a chance, these poor unfortunates are then plunged into a pool of cronyism , mediocrity, lassie faire and sub standard performance which is to be absolutely brutal about it, killing SA, it's like a disease. if you have integrity, you simply can't last in this environment.

 

Such resource squandered, and SA now has stigma.

 

Hard to shake that, whichever way you look at it, hard to shake. Rest of Australia has been saying this about SA for years.

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In my field of engineering geology / geotechnical engineering it's highly relevant: the difference in soil reactivity across Australia is massive, not knowing what the local soils are like will either cost your client money or end up with you being sued for wrong classification. When I was working in the UK I'd never heard of an acid sulfate soil, never had to deal with collapsible soils, never had to have an understanding of risk management under mining legislation, never dealt with analysis of tropical weathering...

 

It's all stuff we would teach a graduate, but if I came into the job in my present Principal classification, I could not have hit the ground running at all and would have cost *a lot* of money playing catch-up. So I would tend to say the more senior you are (in my field, at least), the more important local knowledge is as your charge-out rate is too high to fanny around for extended periods of time, learning.

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