Nuala McClinton – Recruitment Specialist Swaps New Zealand for Northern Ireland
Swapping life on one side of the globe for the other is never easy but Nuala McClinton is well settled in her native Northern Ireland having returned home late last summer from New Zealand.
Nuala heads up the Professional Services team at specialist recruiters Honeycomb based in the centre of Belfast. The role is a natural progression following on from her nine years in New Zealand’s biggest city Auckland, the bulk of which she spent working for a leading recruitment firm. “I left Northern Ireland in 2013 for what I thought was going to be a working holiday”, Nuala smiles. “After receiving some time travelling in Asia, I ended up in New Zealand, thought I’d spend a year there, found that I loved it and stayed.
“Having worked in sales and territory management, I went in to see one of the leading recruitment agencies and they asked me if I’d be interested in working with them. I’ve been in recruitment ever since. “There’s a clear career path in recruitment from consultant to senior consultant and on to team leadership and management. I’m fortunate that the firm I worked for in New Zealand and the firm I work for here, Honeycomb, are similar in a lot of ways. They even use the same systems… my old laptop works just as well in this role as it did back in Auckland.
“The same can be said of New Zealand and Northern Ireland. Both are relatively small economies dominated by SME’s, micro businesses, and family businesses. Both are also built around local communities. Even though Auckland is a big city, it still consisted of lots of communities making up the wh0le”.
On a personal level, Nuala met her husband, a native of New Zealand. Having spent the entire pandemic period locked down in a country with some of the world’s most stringent pandemic rules, the pair decided that when restrictions eased, they’d make a move back to the Northern Hemisphere and the British Isles with their young son. After a short period in Manchester, the family made the move to Northern Ireland. “Moving from one recruitment firm to another hasn’t been too big a challenge. I was really fortunate to connect with Mairead Scott (Honeycomb’s Managing Director) and she’s made it very easy for me to fit in around here. “Of course, I’ve had to build a new network of contacts here in Northern Ireland, but Honeycomb’s strong reputation in the marketplace here has made that a lot easier too”.
The professional services sector, in terms of recruitment, has been very busy and gets busier at the start of each new financial year, Nuala says. Her team manages jobs, candidates, and employers across areas such as legal, accountancy, financial services and fintech. “Working life and working patterns have changed. Candidates are keen to find working conditions to suit them. So the demands on us as recruiters have changed, but the key role remains much the same. But employers nowadays have to give much more thought to how they treat their employees. Working conditions, packages, benefits and everything else within employment contracts are under spotlight from candidates as never before.”
At Honeycomb, Nuala heads up a six-strong Professional Services team. In turn, they’re part of a total team of 23 working on a hybrid basis from home as well as the firm’s offices in Linenhall Street. “Our core area is business support professionals working across a variety of roles within professional services, and we also have specialists with experience in areas like legal and the charity sector.” Nuala admits that it’s been a ‘full on’ year for her, her husband and young son. “Comin back after nine years out in New Zealand wasn’t easy, but I’m really fortunate to have found this role and to be working with this team. It’s made the change a whole lot easier”.
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