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Offshore: The changing market

Having just returned from a trip in the Cayman and British Virgin islands, it is safe to say that the market is showing no signs of slowing down, both in terms of deal flow and recruitment.

Having just returned from a trip in the Cayman and British Virgin Islands, it is safe to say that the market is showing no signs of slowing down, both in terms of deal flow and recruitment. The BVI, even with the recent difficult times that it has faced, is showing true island spirit and firm headcount seems to be generally up on where it was at the start of last year. The introduction of the new visa process for executives is sure to maintain BVI as a jurisdiction of choice for those looking to move overseas. The Cayman Islands showing similar verve has gone through one of the busiest recruitment periods in a long time and shows no sign of slowing down, coming into what is traditionally a busy period of offshore recruitment.

The key difference this year compared to previous is the amount of lateral moves between firms not only in the Caribbean but also in the Channel Islands. Some due to office launches, others due to aggressive expansion plans, this has certainly caused changes in salaries and also how firms recruit their talent. Salaries, pressured by the London market, have unquestionably increased from where they were in 2017 and with current salary reviews being undertaken, it will be interesting to see where everything ends up (keep an eye out for our updated salary guide in the next couple of weeks!).

When recruiting, firms are still looking to the key legal markets for their hires but there is more than a sideways glance these days as to those already on island. This is something which wasn’t so prevalent in the past and with that comes higher salary expectations which aren’t always reciprocated in any offer. It is also the case that lawyers themselves are more than happy to consider the move to a rival firm, which is certainly a change in outlook.

We expect that 2019 will see the new entrants continue to add to their practices to achieve the platform they are looking for. This is likely to cause problems for existing players in the market in terms of retention and also managing internal expectations. There does, however, remain a significant desire from those onshore to make the move offshore and make the most of all the benefits it brings with it – and that means no shortage of talent to choose from.

Speaking with firms, it seems as though 2019, whatever happens elsewhere in the world, should continue to be a very busy and prosperous year. If you’d like to know more about recruiting or working offshore please do get in touch on +44 (0)2070020217 or thomashartwell@hydrogengroup.com. You can also download our guide: Working and living offshore.

Posted about 2 years ago
About the author:
Thomas Hartwell

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