On a scale of 1-10, how difficult is it getting a U.K job from Nigeria?

Last week, we talked about how the U.K is becoming a popular destination for Nigerians looking to move abroad. With a 357% increase in U.K study visas to Nigerians in 2021 alone, it’s tempting to think that studying is the only route to the U.K. It’s not. This week, we spoke to *Folarin who used to work in KPMG’s Nigeria office and has now moved to a U.K firm.

Getting a U.K Job from Nigeria

How easy is it to get a job in the U.K?

How easy is it to get a job in the U.K?

“I studied law in Nigeria,” Folarin shares. “I started my career working in law firms and moved to KPMG Nigeria, where I worked in the advisory division of the firm until I left.” Folarin, who was born and raised in Nigeria, didn’t pay much thought to leaving until 2020, when the pandemic forced a lot of people to work from home and showed organisations that talent is everywhere. But it wasn’t only organisations that had that “aha” moment. Employees everywhere started to apply for jobs outside their physical locations and today, it’s common to find Africans on the continent who have jobs abroad. 

After 2020, Folarin also started looking beyond Nigeria, and he had the added advantage of working at a ‘Big 4’ firm. “I discovered a lot of opportunities and connected with some Nigerians working in similar firms,” he explains, noting that  most of the people he reached out to had moved from Nigeria to these global institutions. One person he spoke with was someone he knew back in Nigeria, and when he applied for a job in the U.K, that acquaintance put in a good word for him.

Was working for KPMG Nigeria an advantage?

As Folarin explained, “KPMG provided the springboard for me to leave the country.” The Big 4 consultancy firms: KPMG PwC, EY and Deloitte are globally recognised. Beyond international  recognition, many of them are also recruiting for roles across the world not only because talent is global, but because of a shortage of skilled workers. In 2022 alone, McKinsey, a top management consulting firm is hiring its largest ever summer internship class across several geographies. 

“These firms are taking the opportunity to recruit from Africa. You only need to look out for these opportunities.”  But it’s important to know that even if you work in KPMG Nigeria, for example, you won’t receive any help when applying to a similar role in the U.K. ‘’Unless you’re taking a secondment where the firm sends you to its sister firm abroad, then you have to think of it like looking for another job.”

A lot of Nigerians will read this as: keep your head down and your lips sealed till you make a move! 

Read also: We watched Ozark and here’s why international transfer limits exist

Useful tips for getting management consultancy jobs in the U.K 

One of the most important things about getting a job outside Nigeria is setting realistic timelines. While it’s entirely possible to hear experiences of people who got jobs only weeks from when they started applying, it’s a good idea to give yourself a timeline of six months to one year. Setting realistic timelines and expectations is important so you don’t get discouraged if you don’t land the first couple of jobs you apply to. 

“From my own perspective and experience,” Folarin explains, “I started looking for a job a year before I relocated, so until I got the job I wanted, I kept applying.”  If he had to guess, Folarin estimates that he applied to at least 50 jobs. 

Another important thing to do is speak to a lot of Nigerians who moved to the U.K for work. This kind of mentoring allows you to have some inside information on what specific companies look out for. In some situations, it’s possible that you even find a connection who will be happy to refer you or put in a good word for you at their company — if they trust your ability. 

Making these connections can also be useful in other ways. Folarin shares that his friend in the U.K helped review his cover letter and CV to ensure that it met the standards of U.K employers. “Those are the kind of conversations that I had with people. Despite all this, I’ll also say everyone should approach job hunting on a case-by-case basis. That means you should first consider the sector you’re trying to get a job in. I’m in advisory and roles in advisory are more limited than roles in audit, ” he concluded. 

Read also: The complete travel guide for Nigerians moving to the U.K in 2022 

Look out for companies that can sponsor your visa

Folarin tells me that when he got his job in the U.K, one of the most important perks of his new job was that they sponsored his visa to the U.K. Here’s a helpful resource to check for companies that have licences to sponsor your work visa to the U.K. Such companies often help their new hires with accommodation and take away a lot of the burden of settling in. 

It’s also a great idea to check out the U.K skilled workers shortage list to find roles that are in high demand. An addition to this is to find recruiters within your niche or profession and reach out to them to ask for job openings; websites that are useful to search for jobs that are a fit for you include, Indeed, Totaljobs and good ol’ LinkedIn. And when you cross the hurdle of submitting CVs and you start speaking to interviewers, it’s a good idea to be familiar with cultural differences. For instance, in the U.K, making eye contact with interviewers is key; while this might be jarring for Nigerians in Nigeria, it’s great to remember!

All in all, it’s a good idea to follow Folarin’s example in getting a U.K job from Nigeria. That way you can ease into your expat life. Maybe you even get lucky and find a personal connection who will refer you to the right position. Or you might find that one of these tips works better than the others for you. 

Also, when you make your big move to the U.K, remember that the Lemonade Finance app is the best way to send and receive money from Nigeria at the best rates. Download the Lemonade App on Google Playstore and App store.


*Not his real name



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