Hunted Worldwide: Cayman Islands

Welcome back to Hunted Worldwide.

If the last few months have proved anything, it’s the importance of where you live and work.

So this week, we’re looking at the Cayman Islands, in the heart of the Caribbean.

The island isn’t huge, and so the population can’t really go beyond a certain size. Because of this, Covid has been relatively easy to manage.

Cayman’s probably best known for being a global financial hub, with some of the biggest names in the industry making their home here. As a result, it’s an enduringly lucrative niche market.

The island isn’t exactly difficult to look at either. In fact it’s rather stunning. And taking us on a virtual tour are brand new Hunted partners Invenio Global Search.

Invenio work with some of the world’s leading banks, Accounting firms, and offshore Law firms. And the Cayman team focus predominately on offshore financial and Legal Services, as well as industries like IT, Construction, Compliance, and Hospitality.

Read more about Invenio Global Search on their Hunted profile.

1) Market Overview

The Cayman Islands has long been seen as one of the world’s premier financial hubs, boasting a client-centric market in prominent financial sectors like Banking, Audit and Hedge funds. HSBC, PwC, Scotiabank, Ernst and Young, and Deloitte are just a few names that have made their home here.

Because of this, Cayman’s also home to many of the world’s top professionals in Law, Accountancy, Corporate Services, and Investment expertise.

The talent pools are there to be tapped, but the market isn’t massive – or infinite. Good networking skills are key to being successful on the island.

One attractive draw for talent (recruiters included) is that as an offshore tax-neutral jurisdiction, Cayman imposes no personal income tax, local corporate tax, or sales tax.

This has both personal and business implications, and is crucial to wrap your head around to get an understanding of how the market might differ from where you are currently.

2) Contract Vs Perm

“There is constant demand from clients for temporary, contract and permanent candidates.”

“Through Covid-19 we saw a big increase in temporary recruitment in certain industries, especially IT and Compliance. Most recently, due to the investment and private funds registration deadline there was a strong need from clients for funds professionals.”

Wherever possible, employers will try and source local Caymanian talent to fill positions. If that’s not possible, they’ll consider work permit holders based on the island. And failing that will bring talent in from overseas.

We’ll cover work permits in more detail towards the end of this article but for contract, agencies apply for permits on behalf of candidates and assign them to their client. So, candidates are employed by the agency for the duration of their assignment.

3) Professional Community

The size of the population in Cayman lends itself nicely to networking. It’s a friendly, laid back island where the professional community comes together quite organically.

Locals prefer meetings over coffee, lunch, or Happy Hour drinks.

There are big conferences throughout the year, business functions at the major hotels, and a community focus on supporting local charities.

4) Business Culture

The key thing to remember is that even though it’s sunshine and lollipops on the island, it’s not somewhere you can pitch up to work in an open shirt and flip flops and expect to do well. You’ll have to work hard to get ahead in Cayman.

It’s less cut-throat than say London tech recruitment but just as busy. Although this is offset by the lucrative, tax-free earning potential.

5) Language

The island’s a real melting pot, with over 135 nationalities calling Cayman home. That said, everyone on the island speaks English.

6) Business Development

BD’s not desperately process-driven in Cayman. Although a lot of the work you do will go through HR. But don’t turn your nose up at that just yet.

HR won’t stand in your way here. They’re on your side, and are supportive of recruitment agencies. That alone might sway you to pack up and ship out, but it gets even better.

7) The CBD

George Town (“GT”) is the capital of Grand Cayman, which is where you’ll find most of the Government buildings, schools, hospitals, and the majority of law firms and investment banks.

“A 10 minute drive from GT is Camana Bay: a 685-acre town with an International School, supermarket, shops, eateries, restaurants, bars, gyms, cinema, offices, and homes. Many of the major banks and offshore law firms are based here too.”

8) Dress

First of all, it’s consistently sweltering in the Caribbean. We’re talking 25° at night and over 30° during the day. So you’ll be pleased to know the vast majority of offices and homes are air conditioned.

During the week, Recruiters are in smart-casual. And pretty much the whole island does dress-down Fridays.

9) Travel

Small islands generally aren’t the best for public transport. Buses run but are known to operate on their own schedule. Taxis are expensive and it’s generally too hot to ride bikes.

Most people get a car as one of the first things they do once they make it to the island.

Invenio offer a two-week car rental to all new employees while they’re getting settled.

Otherwise ecayTrade is the ‘go to’ website for buying and selling things in Cayman, and should be your first stop for sorting out a new set of wheels.

Life On the Island

1) Weather

The island doesn’t experience four seasons throughout the year. It’s either summer or rainy season. But it’s hot all year round.

The rain comes between September and December, where it’s cooler with a bit of a breeze. A bit like an English summer. And when it does rain, it’s over in a matter of minutes.

Every Caribbean island has a solid infrastructure to protect against hurricanes. Cayman haven’t had one in years but you’d want to be prepped if you ever moved there. So here are some tips.

2) Housing

Most people who aren’t from the island, rent.  ecayTrade also does rentals for housing, so is well worth a look. You’ll invariably go through a real estate agent, of which there are plenty on the island, and will need rent and deposit in advance, same as you would elsewhere.

It’s reasonably easy to buy. And refreshingly, your commission and bonus will be taken into account alongside your (relatively high) base salary.

3) Food

Cayman’s a foodie’s dream. Naturally, there’s a big emphasis on fresh seafood. Mahi mahi is a specialty. And both lobster and conch get their own seasons throughout the year.

“Our team are all big foodies and there is no shortage of quality food on island in all districts. A favourite weekend outing is to drive to the other side of the island, East End for delicious local fish fry.”

“Our office is based in GT on the waterfront. We are spoilt for choice, just across the road we have; Casanova, a wonderful Italian restaurant; Cabana, a local foodie/happy hour favourite; Sandbar Daquiri Bar and Grill fully equipped with jerk chicken drums; and Rackhams which has a killer Curry Cheese Fries! Something for everyone whatever your palette and all with spectacular sea views.”

“The island is blessed with an extremely high standard of food from every nationality you can think of. There is even a Filipino restaurant which turns into a Karaoke bar in the evenings.”

4) Outdoor Space

Cayman’s built up to a similar degree to the nearby Miami, and the views are absolutely stunning.

You’ve got Seven Mile Beach, which is exactly as the name implies: a massive stretch of white sands and bright blue ocean.

There’s Stingray City, where you’ll head out on a boat and swim with the rays.

And Starfish Point, a quiet patch of sand with plenty of five pointed locals for company.

5) Social Scene

There’s absolutely tons to do outdoors here. Plenty of watersports: stand-up paddle boarding, jet skiing, water skiing, kite surfing, and parasailing are all quite common.

If you’re moving here, you should probably get a boat. They’re about the same price as a car and you won’t need a licence to take to the water.

For those fond of dry land, you’ll be happy to hear brunches are a big deal here. And if you need to work off four hours of non-stop champagning on a Sunday, there’s plenty of gyms and a massive yoga scene. CrossFit’s big here too.

“There is a big sports scene in general with plenty going on at the football, rugby, tennis, and squash clubs.”

6) Family

Schools for expat kids have to be paid for, but think of the life you’re giving your children. Imagine growing up in a place like this.

There’s so much on offer, set amongst the backdrop of outstanding natural beauty, the only difficulty you’ll have getting them in for dinner.

7) Cost Of Living

When you factor in how much you’ll earn living and working in Cayman, it’s about comparable to London. And employers make sure you earn enough to live comfortably.

Mainly because people in Cayman are genuinely just really, really sound. But also because they’ll want you to stay once you’re there.

And true to form, not only do Invenio provide you with a car for your first few weeks, they’ll also take care of your accommodation for the first month:

“Our aim is to make you feel at home straight off the plane, with a place near the beach and only a short commute to the office.”

8) Tax

Arguably one of the strongest draws to establishing yourself on the island is the fact that Cayman’s a tax neutral jurisdiction. This means there’s no direct tax to your income. The only deductions you’ll see are for health insurance, which everyone in Cayman’s required to have by law.

The only other deductions are pension contributions, which don’t kick in until you’ve been on the island 9 months and set up a pension plan.

Legally, you have to contribute 5% of your earnings to a pension plan and your employer will match that contribution up to 5%. If you leave the island, your pension contributions can be transferred to a pension plan overseas.

9) Work permits

Anyone not from the Cayman Islands will need a permit to work here. The employer issues the paperwork on the candidate’s behalf and covers the cost of it. As long as there are no suitably qualified Caymanians available for the position, the permit’s typically granted.

If you have a criminal record, you won’t be able to secure a police clearance certificate – vital when filing for a work permit.

The work permit process can vary depending on the type of permit the employer applies for. But for a permanent role, typically it takes between 6-8 weeks for it to be approved. Express temporary 6 month work permits can be approved as quickly as 48-72 hours.

10) International Travel

Miami is (ordinarily) only an hour and a $100 flight away. You’re also an hour from Jamaica, Cuba, Honduras, Bahamas, and Panama. All flights are direct through Cayman Airways.

Direct flights also go to New York, Chicago and Denver, although there’s only a handful a day (again, ordinarily).

At the time of writing, Invenio Global Search have four live job slots on their Hunted profile.

Check them out and pop them an anonymous message if sun, sea and a tax-free lifestyle sounds like the kind of place you’re meant to be.