Bermuda's Job Market - An Islander's Story
Good Day Raj,
Was quite surprised to stumble across your site when I Googled, "where can I find a job in Bermuda." I am glad to hear you enjoy the island of Bermuda so much. Your article was fine and I would as a local like to express my views on Bermuda and the job market through my eyes.
My present job does not require my office or administrative skills. We have been told to get a better education, to develop ourselves but would you want to better yourself if you have not made it in the industry you studied?
There have been cases were Bermudians have been blocked from a position but as the saying goes, "If it is for you to have you will have it."
And there are other cases were the expat and local both alike have not been treated fairly. I do not believe in being idle when it comes to the search for employment that better suits my skill set. To be thankful for having a job is one thing and to get totally satisfied in a stale situation is another. I guess what some become frustrated in is the fact that they like myself in some cases had been bypassed regardless of skill, experience and education.
I am not one of the Bermudians that are or were bitter that people come in from overseas to do our jobs. Let's be honest there are some that we do not have the skill set of specialized training in and on the flip side there are others that we can do if given the proper training and opportunities for.
Over the past few years I think we have gotten a bit stern with the fact that a certificate is needed for everything. This is both a good and bad thing for some Bermudians, please allow me to explain. There is a number of us (Bermudians) that do have the skills, experience and knowledge to do some of the jobs within an industry.
There have been times and this has happened to me and it becomes discouraging to both young and seasoned Bermudians that have been overlooked for a position because they do not possess a certificate stating they have excelled in an area. Only to come to work one day and find out after they have worked hard in a profession to be successful there name been put forward for a promotion to find out days later that we have been blocked or in worse case scenario to find out that someone else has been hired for the position in which they have to train someone else to do the job.
I have seen many things within both the private and public sectors that play on this. I know of a case were the person had no experience in the industry and was given a position because of a degree. A degree that was in another industry but a degree just the same. A Bermudian had to train the person in all facets of the job.
As I stated I am not mad that others come here to work, opportunities are meant to be seized. Bermudians are international and set up shop all over the world. In another light there are some jobs in which apprentices can be taken on but then there are Bermudians who do not want to teach their craft or knowledge. That is one thing I do not understand in certain jobs.
I was told by employers at that time that I had no experience so I did so. I did this with the hopes that some day I would become an Administrative Assistant. I am more annoyed that I spent years working towards a profession that didn't happen. Even when applying for lesser skilled jobs I was told I had too much experience and vice versa. The richest thing I have been told was that I should work as an Administrative Assistant because I have a lot of experience in Admin Support. All I could say was, "WOW."
This type of typical Bermudian attitude has pushed many Bermudians out of there chosen field of study and into others long before the recession even started. For this reason some Bermudians have moved overseas as they feel that island they call home has nothing for them. Which is sad.
I really feel this is a time to reinvent ourselves and to become skilled. It is also a time in which we have to be honest about what we can and can't do. Most Bermudians took for granted that the job market would always be good and never looked out of the box looking for other things (recreation, volunteer services or just anything of leisure that may have interested them) that may be a good field to go in.
We really need to look into as Bermudians what the island needs. There are tons of people becoming lawyers, accountants and other business professionals that the island does not need unless they specialize.
There are certain industries that do not fail and always need people. Some of these professions can be done at home while others may require an office or space to do them in. This had been a failure of our own.
One of the main reasons why we bring in expats and require a degree for everything right now is because some not all go the extra mile to specialize. Take the insurance industry for instance, a Bermudian may go to either the Insurance Institute or Bermuda College and get a degree. Some may work for the industry already and will benefit by working towards their degree, others may be making themselves open to the market if a job comes up being they are unemployed.
Now lets take a look at the expat... they get a degree in Marine Insurance, so they figure why not take up courses to find out how to tie knots and the mechanics of a boat. This is what is in some cases the determining factor in employment in a field. A successful self motivated person finds other ways to make themselves an asset to a company and the field they are in. It doesn't stop at getting a degree in marine insurance, one keeps looking for ways to become an expert in that field.
I was at one time interviewed for a government job and was told by the interviewer that I did not know the structure of the government and that my expertise was in the private sector and that I would do better looking for a job there. To me that was a low blow. Even tried for a job in the hotel industry and was told it was not a good go for me because I did not have experience in the hospitality industry.
So, if I am not given a chance in the hospitality industry how can I not be a good fit. For the most part sales, finance and insurance institutions have been were I have temped and been fully employed. I like many other Bermudians have been crossed trained so some of the skills can be used in other industries.
I have worked as a Receptionist which has multi lines that connect both abroad and locally so why couldn't or wouldn't I be able to work as a Front Desk Receptionist. Oh I know why I don't have two years experience in a hotel. You see some of these guidelines are keeping people that are great workers out of work. Even dishwashing positions require a certain amount of experience, but how are you supposed to get experience if you can't get a toe let alone a foot in the door.
There is so much concentration being given on what one don't have instead of playing on the skills one does have and giving the opportunity to be trained on the job for those who could be otherwise great candidates for the company. Many of good people have been bypassed due to this.
Now I think I went on enough. Kind of vented because I feel there are many Bermudians that are skilled but may be given the blind eye due to the degree card.
P.S. If given employment in a field one studied, is skilled, has experience without degree and in some cases take a chance on someone who has passion and true interest one might find new hope to get a degree and study towards one.
By: Calvina (March 2012)
Update April 2013 (by Raj): A recently released Employment Survey in Bermuda revealed that in 2012 the job market in the island declined for the fourth consecutive year. Number of filled jobs came down from 37,399 in 2011 to 35,443 in 2012. Bermudians lost 4% and non-Bermudians lost 10% jobs compared to 2011. Construction sector fell by 12%, while Retail Trade and Business Service were the two other worst affected sectors.
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