As a Recruitment Specialist, I am often discussing people’s career objectives and what is standing in their way of achieving them. Unsurprisingly, management level roles are high on the list of career aspirations. But what is the best way to get into a management position? Do you wait until your direct manager moves up (or out) and go for their position? Do you apply for management roles in other companies?
I have interviewed countless senior engineers and designers who tell me they can’t seem to break into the next level of their career. Most of them don’t have opportunities in their current company. They could be waiting years for their manager to retire, and they’re still not guaranteed to move up into that role. But if they apply for management roles with another employer, they most likely won’t be considered as they don’t have any existing management experience. It’s a cycle that traps a lot of good people who could go on to become great managers if they had the chance.
Most people who work in major capital cities don’t consider the opportunities that moving to a regional or remote area can provide them. Regional and remote engineering firms find it hard to get good staff with experience and can provide a great career boost for a mid-senior level professional to take that next step. It can also give you a much broader experience in your field by being able to work on a wide range of different projects.
There are other benefits as well. It will broaden your view of the country, and you will experience a whole different culture. My experiences from people in the major capital cities is that they don’t really have any idea what goes on in the rest of the country. Everywhere else is just a tourist destination. Before I moved from Sydney to Cairns two years ago, I was the same. I thought Cairns was just a small tourist destination people went to see the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest and there was nothing else there. But after moving to Cairns, I can see that it is so much more. There is a booming commercial sector as well as the tourism, the locals are much friendlier and more approachable than people in Sydney, there is so much more to do as a family, and the commute times are far less meaning there is more time to enjoy everything available here. Now I don’t think I could ever leave as I love it here so much more than I ever thought I would.
Have you reached a plateau in your career progression? Have you ever considered moving to a regional area to advance your career? Even if it is only for a couple of years, get the management experience, then you can move back with better career opportunities available. Who knows, you might like it so much you’ll want to stay too!
Executive Recruitment Consultant