Months before finishing my Masters degree in Investments at the University of Birmingham, I applied for jobs in all the usual places - the big investment banks and the major financial cities, London,New York and Hong Kong.
During this process, I came across an advertisement for a role in Luxembourg and decided to give the headhunting company, Adecco/Ajilion a call. I was informed that the role in question had been filled but another was available with the world’s leading fund administrator, CITCO.
After a couple of interviews, I got this job. I’ve now lived and worked in Luxembourg for over four years and have absolutely no regrets. I have had the opportunity to work with major hedge funds & investment banks through their funds whilst getting good accounting & investment experience.
Luxembourg is at the heart of the European financial services industry. David Kitzinger, head of executive recruitment at the headhunter, Badenoch & Clark, points out that it’s a multi-cultural place where different languages are spoken and that – given the tolerance for new learners - its easy to become multilingual. Income tax and other taxes are lower than in London,Paris and Frankfurt.
Quality of life, social security, the ease of raising a family and Luxembourg’s central location in Europe are major selling points. This is a view shared by Bertrand, an associate with Clifford Chance, the Law Firm. He says Luxembourg law firms seem more respectful of free time and family life than in Paris.
So, who could you work for in Luxembourg? Major employers here include the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, law firms, family offices, real estate firms and fund administrators. The fund administration and private banking sectors are strong. Opportunities for qualified accountants as well as corporate legal professionals are also on offer in private equity funds.
When I came to Luxembourg, I was surprised at the comparative ease with which I found a job here. At the time, my headhunter explained that – for some reason – Luxembourg is overlooked by international graduates looking for jobs. This isn’t to say that it’s easy to get a job in Luxembourg if you have no prior experience. Most roles here are for people with 2-8 years’ experience in their industry of choice.
Kitzinger advises people who wish to work in Luxembourg to get at least two years’ experience before they apply. It will also help if you speak French or German, although you don’t need to be fluent.
My personal advice is not to let a lack of fluency put you off. Apply for jobs in Luxembourg and follow up with a call if you don’t receive a reply. A follow-up call can make all the difference. Most people don’t bother with one, but in my case it revealed an alternative opportunity and has enabled me to work in this, ‘hidden treasure’ of a country.