Hunted Worldwide: The Isle of Man

Welcome back to Hunted Worldwide. The only series giving you an insight into recruitment landscapes all over the world. This week, we’re reporting to you digitally from the Isle of Man, to see what this haven might have to offer the Recruiter with wanderlust.

And we’re touring the home of The Bee Gees with Boston Link – iGaming, Cross-Border Finance, Fintech and Blockchain specialists. They’ve got offices in Malta and Gloucester as well, but it’s the little island between England and Ireland that deserves our attention today.


Market Overview

The main recruitment markets on the Isle of Man are iGaming and Financial Services. Insurance and online gambling generate around 17% of gross national product each, with ICT and banking contributing about 9%. The main skill sets required are those suited to gaming related positions.

So tech candidates, along with Accountants and Legal and Compliance.

For Gaming specifically there’s a high amount of Product related roles. This manifests itself in Casino or sportsbook products. As well as your more traditional Dev jobs.

Whilst it’s not what its known for, there’s a growing blockchain scene on the Isle of Man. It’s an evolution from gaming and uses a lot of the same tech.

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Contract versus Perm

Recruitment on the Isle of Man is almost entirely perm.

The island’s population’s around the 85K mark. And there’s a shortage of talent. No university means Manx workers leave and don’t usually come straight back.

This means you have to bring people over.

And doing so on a contract’s just not the done thing ordinarily. So a big part of Boston Link’s business is relocating people and making them aware of the attractions from a career, tax and lifestyle perspective.

Professional Community

As with any recruitment hub, you’ll do business in coffee shops and networking groups, as well as over the phone and from your inbox. You’ll find the gaming sector in particular’s pretty social.

Because the island’s only 32 miles long and 14 wide, you’ll find it’s a strong, local community. Where if you don’t know the big players in your market by their first name, you’ve probably stood behind them at one of the bars in the centre of Douglas, the capital.

You’ve also got the Isle of Man business network: an inclusive not for profit run by volunteers that host a variety of networking and learning events.

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Business Culture

Very relationship driven. It’s not like a lot of UK markets where there are PSLs or on site recruitment desks. You mostly deal direct with hiring managers although sometimes you’ll be interacting with HR.

There are very few Isle of Man recruitment companies that have a presence elsewhere other than the island. It’s a similar set up to the one Boston Link started in Malta: there were hardly any recruitment businesses that had an office elsewhere too. So every recruitment business on the Isle of Man is truly local.

This gives Boston Link more credibility with clients than you might otherwise be used to. 

Language

Everyone speaks English. And hardly anyone speaks Manx anymore.

In 2009, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared the language extinct. Following a letter from then Chief Minister Tony Brown, the Manx language’s classification was upgraded to “critically endangered“.

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Business Development

You don’t actually have to do BD. Your competitors probably won’t. Which is one reason why 360 recruiters will have an edge once they first land here.

Again, because of the island’s size and business culture, recruitment agencies tend to have everyone on the island’s CV. Businesses know this, and call in with their requirements. So a lot of your business will be inbound.

And if it’s not being called in, you’ll pick up business out for a drink with clients. They’re more than happy to tell you about a pal who’s hiring. Not to mention, keeping a finger on the market’s pulse means you’ll have the drop on backfilling roles.

A lot of your billings can come from this, if you play your cards right.

Dress

Dressing smart is the way to go. Business attire will have you fitting in with the clients you’re working with.

Travel

Car or motorbike. There’s a bus network but you’re better off getting about on the roads yourself.

There are a couple of rail options: a steam railway to Port Erin and an electric one to Ramsey, both departing to/from Douglas.

The maximum commute to anywhere on the island’s about half an hour. Quite deece when you compare it to the average 74 minutes in London.

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Life In The City

Weather

The number one push back is on the weather. I think people assume it’s going to be worse than it is, although I’m not sure why.

It’s similar to the North of England. The Isle of Man rarely endures extreme weather – either cold or hot – although they do have their own native palm trees.

And it’s a really outdoorsy place. Running, cycling, sailing are all common activities.

Housing

There are some nice properties on the island. If you’re a young family you can get a town house for around £1200 a month. Young professionals are looking at about £600-800 for something a wee bit smaller or shared.

It’s not as expensive to buy a house on the island as it is elsewhere. And it’s a reasonably accessible market. If you’re coming from the north of England, housing’s expensive. If you’re coming from London, it’s more reasonable.

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Food

The Quay in Douglas has plenty of cool places to eat. Obviously, sea food’s something of a staple. Manx Queenies are a particular speciality: Queen scollops fished right out of the waters nearby.

The artisan food on the island is incredible and is responsible for transforming the food industry locally. Dave’s Delicious Dogs is highly recommended.

Outdoor Space

While Douglas is the central hub, it’s not the main reason people come. The scenery on the Isle of Man is typically described as stunning.

A testament to it’s incredible outdoor spaces, UNESCO recognised The Isle of Man as “one of the best places in the world to explore nature“.

The Isle of Man also welcomes tens of thousands of motorsport fans every year for the Isle of Man TT and the Manx Grand Prix. It’s a major spectacle for the island. And means everyone gets together, mainly in beer tents, and there’s events running for the whole family as well.

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Social Scene

There are quite a lot of ex-pats: around 40% of the population comes from the UK, 50% are born locally and the rest come from other parts of the world, mostly the EU.

Germans and Scandinavians come over for both the gaming industry and the friendly social scene. And to sample the Manx alcohol. Manx gin is amazing and there’s some great craft wine local to the island.

The Isle of Man is frequently named the safest place in the British Isles and boasts low crime rates to compliment it’s friendly social scene.

Family

The standard of schools is quite high. The Isle of Man always does well in OFSTED rankings. Although nurseries can be difficult to organise: they’re private and you need to plan ahead.

The Isle of Man isn’t bound to the UK curriculum. Instead, they consult the students, parents and teachers to make it more flexible on learning. They also have university colleges which runs degree courses and the private King William’s College which is known for sending kids to top unis.

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Cost of Living

Higher than the UK in general. Not as bad as London, it’s probably on a par with somewhere like Manchester. Although newbies to the Isle of Man typically find their cost of living’s offset by the island’s low tax rates.

Tax

The Isle of Man is well known for its low income tax rate. There’s a lower tax band of 10% and a higher one of 20%. The first £12,500 you earn’s tax free. And there are no inheritance or capital taxes either.

If you’re on a £30k base, you’re taking home about 24 and a half. Plus your commission.

Tax is one of the main reasons people choose to move to the island, outside of the stunning outdoor spaces, vibrant social scene and uniquely booming recruitment markets.

There’s also the introduction of the upcoming National Insurance Holiday Scheme, set to come into play in April of this year. It’s designed to get people relocating to the Isle of Man, and could mean you’re taking home an even heftier chunk of your pay cheque each month.

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Visas

The Isle of Man’s not part of the Schengen area of free movement, although they have agreements with almost forty other countries on immigration. You’ll find more information on that here.

You’ll need a work permit, which can be difficult to get hold of. That said, the government recognises there’s a skills shortage. And wants to keep their 1% unemployment rate as low as possible. So there are exceptions. If you work in Tech, for example, you don’t need one.

International travel

The Sea Terminal in Douglas has fairly regular ferries to Lancashire and Liverpool, and occasionally Belfast and Dublin.

From the Isle of Man Airport, you’ll be in London in an hour. Less to Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool. And from there, the world’s your queen scollop.


A huge thanks to the good people at Boston Link for giving us the tour of their amazing island. Check out their Hunted profile and get in touch anonymously to explore their open opportunities. At the time of writing, they’re looking for Recruitment Consultants to work in their office in Douglas on the Isle of Man and in St Julians, Malta.