Project Manager Salary – How Much Can You Make? The First Targeted Project in Dubai


Construction Jobs UK – Engineering, Surveying and Project Management

My name is Quinn and today I’m super excited to welcome two guests on to the show. I’ve got with me Lucy Stevenson and Peter Melrose and they’re from a company called CarmichaelUK. And the reason why I’m so excited to have them on the show is they’re from a company that is really good at helping people from overseas. They’ve got a long history doing that. They also help people from Britain but they really are specialists at just looking after everything in terms of somebody coming from overseas. And better than that, Lucy and Pete are actually from overseas themselves. So we’re going to get some great information. You’re going to want to grab a notepad. But first of all let’s meet Lucy and Pete.

– How are you going guys?

– Hi Quinn. Hello Quinn. How’s it going? Awesome. And yeah I just wanted to, for the benefit of everybody watching, I just wanted to get a little bit of your story. I’m from New Zealand. I studied at Ottago University, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. Decided to move to London a couple of years ago. I got introduced to Carmichael through my partner who is an engineer. And then I just, yeah, I fell onto recruitment so very lucky to be working with such a great company. Awesome. Moved out in the summer. I few years ago studied down in Otago I did a Bachelor of Surveying. I was spending some three or four years in Aussie. Sort of made a standard trip over here, did the RE for a couple of years. Was working out in the field and sort of got called to me so I’ve got one of my recruiters who’s calling Carmichael’s and yeah. Here I am today, behind one of the desks, doing the same sort of stuff. Fantastic. Sounds like you’re in Aussie for too long. Yeah I think so mate, got so used to it. Awesome. So fantastic and yeah.

– What’s it like? I mean I guess in the last five years or so, it’s been pretty interesting times. You both haven’t been here that long but even the last little while, what’s the current economy like in the market for the types of people that you’re after?

– Well things are definitely picking up. I remember when I was still back in New Zealand, a lot of people thought we were crazy moving here because the market we’re never going to get a job. But the market is definitely picking up over here. There are so many jobs especially for engineers. I mean the UK government is definitely investing a lot of money in infrastructure. There’s some major projects going on. There’s a lot more on the byline as well. So it’s a very busy time to be honest with you. So it’s good. It’s keeping us busy. Yeah, exciting times. Yeah. Yeah. Just a matter of more people coming from overseas by the sound of it. Yeah absolutely. We’ve got plenty of roles so yeah. Yeah and I’ve got a lot of friends that are sort of making the migration over from Australia and New Zealand at the moment. Some of the big projects that’s sort of slowing down in Australia. They’ve got a similar sort of qualities and experience that some of the jobs over here require as well. Yeah it’s good time to sort of be thinking about it, I think. To make a move. Yeah absolutely. Tell us a little bit more about the types of projects and the types of people that they’re seeking? Well in London, we’re extremely busy with the likes of Crossrail. Crossrail 2 is going to be kicking off soon. And that all across our jobs include the likes of tunneling, station upgrades, a lot of rail. Crossrail is amazing. I mean we’re talking billions and billions of pounds. Putting your tube right under the heart of London. It’s pretty exciting project. Yeah it’s incredible. Underground itself is it’s the size of the entire Australian rail network. Yeah. It’s just unbelievable what they’ve put under the ground but It’s amazing what they can achieve. I’ve been lucky enough to go down to the tunnels and have a look and it’s something else. One of the biggest railways I’ve ever seen. It’s absolutely enormous. I know there’s also building work going on as well.

– Can you tell us a little bit about that?

– Yeah I mean London is quite a flux city I suppose at the moment. So they’re definitely looking to get upwards. There’s some major expansion happening out east—sorry, out west at the moment. It’s called we’re talking of new homes and new buildings going up at the moment. So it’s definitely picking up over the last few years, that’s for sure. Yeah there’s also a lot of work with airports. Heathrow putting on a couple more terminals I believe. So that’s a lot of bulk work out there also. Yeah alright. One of the largest, if not the largest airport in the world. Yeah. Yeah exactly. Really busy on the highways side of things, so it’s not only London where we’re really busy. It’s all of the surrounding areas that we’re putting up highways. Yeah and traditionally I know construction work for a construction professional, you would follow out where the work is and then you would go to where the work.

– Is that still the case or is it really a matter that somebody can sort of choose the location that they would prefer and then go from there? Or how would they best go about it?

– I think it’s a bit of both to be honest with you. If you’re looking for one specific type of a job, you might have to travel for it. But if you’re not picky, if you’re an engineer, or a surveyor wanting to do anything close to home, there’s numerous to choose from at this stage. If you’re looking to get on a big exciting project, obviously if you want to do tunneling, you’ve got to go either London. There’s actually a new big tunnel being built up way on north of England called Line. It’ll be kicking off pretty soon as well a bit. In terms of work close to home, it’s there if you’re not too picky. I mean Yeah it’s really personal preference. I mean anyone who works in London will usually find something. But yeah, it usually depends how flexible you are. Yeah and so in terms of the timeframes for somebody from overseas, I always say that they should get in contact with somebody like yourselves before they arrive.

– So is that still the case, is that what you find?

– Yeah absolutely. We really like to expecting before, months in advance, just so we know exactly of your plans. And we can put some jobs in the pipeline and inspecting about what they’re really wanting and hopefully line something up for them as soon as they arrive. That’s our goal. A lot of the guys that we sort of speak to are they come from overseas and they’re travelling all the way over and same old story. They get carried away in Europe and you need to start working as soon as you get there to be able to pay your rent. So it definitely helps I think to being in contact where we give guys an idea of sort of where big projects are and we can help them out with sort of easy checks and that sort of stuff as well. It’s not just about getting contact about work as well. We can help them out with numerous other things including CSCS cards if you need to work here in the UK as well, all that type of stuff.

– Yeah and that’s the safety card, is that right? Sorry, yeah. I’m sorry yeah. And I know that there’s a lot of contract work and also permanent work and people from overseas aren’t necessarily familiar with the differences there. I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about that and what that means in terms of your lifestyle too potentially. Yes I mean my experience, I’ve come from Australia which is when I was there I predominantly worked permanent. I never really heard of the freelancer or the contracting side I think. I was paid by the hour in Australia, but it was very much I had to give three weeks and I was leaving and vice versa for the company. And I mean well in the UK it’s a bit different.

– A lot of the engineers predominantly what we do is freelance work which means you… How do you explain that what you do?

– Well typically we normally have a contract job where usually freelance. You can be put on an ongoing job which could open you up to work the whole time you’re here. It’s pretty flexible. A lot of our clients know that the Kiwis and the Aussies and anyone from overseas are here to travel so they’re pretty good with holidays and leaves and stuff like that. If you want to take a long weekend to shoot over to Europe for the weekend or whatever in that you don’t have flexibility because you’re not a direct employee. Yeah. It’s usually a couple of days notice. We would like to ask for one week’s notice at least. Just like it’s sort of out of courtesy for our clients. Plenty of work and it’s just a matter of communicating that to your employer and then you can work things out. Yeah. Yeah. But yeah we should have a lot of permanent jobs also. So there is that option as well. It depends obviously be on what you’re wanting. And there may belong to visa. Some candidates wanting to be put on T5 visa or they may have a passport so it’s what they really want to.

– And does it really matter from the employer’s perspective what visa they’re on or what they’ve got? I mean to a degree it does.

– Depending on the employer, I suppose. Yeah absolutely. If you’re looking to take someone on permanent and they’ve only got three months left on their visa, I don’t know if they will but if you’re fresh off the boat basically and you got two years or five years or whatever you’ve got left, then absolutely. I mean you can get put on for a year if you’d like or it very much does depend on the clients and the situation I suppose. Yeah so wide range of projects. You’ve got highways, tunnels, buildings. Railways. And there are some new rail nuclear power stations, bridges. Yeah we’ve got a really big nuclear project Hinkley Point which is down on the coast. Yeah that’s incredible though. The surfers if they want to go down here. Yeah. That’s exciting, massive project. So yeah, I wanted to find out a little more about the roles. I mean there’s a slight difference in the terminology between the UK and overseas. But if you could just give us sort of an idea of the roles that you continue and deal with, yes. Yeah sure. Judging on my experience as well, it’s a little bit different to how things operate in Australia. Over there it’s very much you’ve got your surveyors sitting out and a lot of the CAD work and project engineers sort of building engineering obviously. Over here it’s sort of split out differently. Those are basically mashed together as one. It’s just called the site engineer. We are required to do a lot of the engineering paperwork but also do the sitting down. And as you find the project engineers from Australia and New Zealand and around the world, they sort of almost go out into the next level over here called section engineers. You’re just doing the normal sort of your brands, [?] your assistance. UK way. All the normal engineering stuff I suppose. And then after that it sort of moves up into your senior engineers. They’re called sub-agents and agents over here. And then obviously your project managers and everything about that. Yeah.

– And there’s lots of different titles. Sorry what was that?

– There are lots of different titles. Yeah, yeah. And I think isn’t it the case that for somebody from coming overseas that you can potentially put them into a number of roles and really just from your point of view knowing as much as possible about the experience that puts you into a position to be able to do that. Yeah well how we work when somebody arrives in the UK, we like to get them into our office as soon as possible. We’ll have a good chat with them and write down their CV and really get to know them and know what their strong at. So we will then try and put them into the most appropriate role that we’ve got. And that could be in these titles. I find that the roles over here they’re almost pigeon-holed. I find that Kiwis, Aussies and everyone else from around the world, we’re fairly adaptable and what-not. We’ve got a broad range of skills. So it’s also get in touch with them, we get you into the office to find out what we can do and what’s it you’re looking for over here. A project engineer, they hire the QA, even the costings, the planning, everything like that. Whereas over here, you’ve got your project engineers, you’ve got your section engineers, you’ve got QA engineers. Planners. Planners. So the Kiwis and then especially the Aussies and the Kiwis, they can sort of adapt. Yeah I know.

– I mean even planning for example, as a profession in itself, isn’t it?

– Yeah exactly. And people are just referred to as planners and I’ve seen many engineers end up in those roles and yeah it’s awesome. Just the sheer size of the market over there, and the opportunities are just incredible.

– How quickly can you get somebody a role? I mean I know that’s a very hard thing to answer because it’s different for everybody but just in general. I mean depending on location say Central London. Depending on experience obviously, depending on the time of the year. And depending on how quickly the candidates can be.

– Yeah often we get guys into our office in the morning. We’ll have a chat with them, find out what they want to do. And we can potentially have a couple of options for them by that afternoon. And then there’s a lot of ways it goes but it’s definitely not unheard of. Yeah we have some candidates that would land on a job before they arrive, like we will have them Skype interview and then they’d start within the week they arrive. Then come and interview with us as Pete said, and we can have the interview for them that day. Or sometimes, it can take a couple of weeks depending on the market, the roles, what they’re wanting and where they live, yeah.

– Yeah and what level of experience do they need to really be able to get a job as quickly as that?

– I think it can be a lot harder for graduates. So if you’d just graduated and you move here, it gets very tricky. I mean it’s hard for UK graduates to get jobs, so I probably would advise to get at least a couple of years experience before you move to then. It depends on clients again. That some clients are quite funny about UK experience. Some would like to have One job or one project. Yeah so we could often tell our candidates if it’s a certain time of the year, or if it’s quite a slow market and you’ve been offered a role just sort of jump on it for a few months, get some UK experience on your CV and then from there you’ll find that a lot more doors are opened to you. Yeah like some of my guys. Yeah exactly. Yeah and just I think it’s that familiarity that clients want to see that that person’s got that UK experience on their CV and that—I don’t know.

– That seems to open doors, doesn’t it?

– Yeah. We have some regular relationships with our clients and they know what we do and they know that we in the past and still now we specialize in events and they know how good they are and how hard they work. So they go off and jump in CV and you know I mean it’s more a case that they’re after people that can do the job and have got the right attitude and Yeah exactly. It’s awesome. It works really well. Yeah so tell us a little bit more I guess in terms of I sort of want to put you on the spot a little bit as far as rates go. And I know there’s a contract and permanent, so maybe you can just separate that out and just give us some ballpark figures how that would work out. Yeah no worries. It’s always negotiable. We have different clients, location and the type of role obviously. Freelance is they’re rated predominantly higher. Then permanent. So just as examples. A site engineer they’d be paid from around £18 an hour to about £22 an hour. And then the section engineers would be 22 22 to 25. An hour. Sub-agents 25 to 28, 30. Agents 30 plus, I mean that’s from the sort of negotiable or higher. Yeah it’s still pretty much dependent obviously on experience and also the client, the locations. Traditionally London pays higher than the rest of the UK but there’s been a bit of a change over probably the last six months where it’s almost a level playing field at the moment. The sort of I suppose but on the permanent side of things, site engineer you’re looking at around 26k to maybe 34, the site engineer thousand per year, 24k. Section you know, 32 to 37. Senior, 35 to 40. After that once you get to the sort of sub-agents, agents, you’re looking at 35 plus. And again it’s very dependent on locations, experience, clients, all of it. Yeah and it’s just base salary. Yeah obviously with permanent there’s a lot of other But the—yeah. With permanent there’s a lot of other elements that are built into the package. Yeah of course and then sometimes they offered travel, living away from home allowances. You’ve got vehicles, phones, laptop, all that normal jazz really. Which all helps I mean depending on what you want to do I guess. Yeah. That’s awesome. I think now we’re really starting to get a good feeling for how it works here guys and how somebody can make the most of the opportunity. But since you guys are from overseas and now you’ve actually gone through the process yourself, what would you tell somebody from overseas, maybe I can get both of your answers for this one because I think this is what everyone wants to hear.

– What would you tell somebody coming from overseas that they should do before they come over?

– Oh definitely get in touch. I mean obviously you get yourself sorted. Find out where you want to base yourself. Have an idea when you’re here of what you want to do. If you’re here to further your career or if you’re here to bugger off every second weekend, it’s completely up to you. I mean I came over with the view of doing a lot of travel, seeing both UK and Europe, I’m only here for a limited time. So I am on a 2 year visa. I had always since planned out and I’ve seen the majority of Europe now. I’ve got about six months to go on my visa and yeah I suppose just to have an idea in your head. And you can get in touch I suppose. That’s the main thing. Just start asking questions. Yeah absolutely.

– Lucy what would you say?

– I think Pete covered the question. I do have one thing that I’d like to advise would be a couple of CV tips. The clients over here like to see are project-based CV, so if you can put obviously just specific projects you’ve worked on and just in bullet points your main duties and responsibilities. Make it quite a small. Yeah a short CV better than a long novel. I think sort of know if you’re going for freelancer especially no longer than probably two pages. Permanent’s a little bit different. You can go on a little bit deeper but I wouldn’t get too carried away. Yeah isn’t it the case that with somebody’s CV that you’re really able to sort of help get that to where it needs to be for each client anyway. So they just need to really make sure that they get across to you what they can do. Yeah it’s also really handy if we have present references, they can just line them through. For freelance, other things. Cover letters, we don’t them. Just the CV, couple of references. Okay fantastic. Great advice.

-Thank you very much.

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