Returning To The UK

What To Expect When Relocating Back to the UK in the Construction Industry

In recent years the recruitment consultants at Maxim Recruitment have been incredibly successful at bringing UK expats back to the UK from a variety of jobs and locations around the world. We have found UK based jobs for people in Quantity Surveying, Commercial Management, Planning and Engineering to name a few specialisms.  These construction jobs have been to work with some of the construction industry's very best build and civils main contractors, sub contractors, engineering consultancies, claims consultancies and expert witness consultants.

With our international recruitment reach with Maxim offices in Hong Kong and in Dubai, but also a UK based head office for over 12 years, we are in a very strong position to help candidates who are currently overseas by offering expert advice on the UK market - salary, sectors, and where and who best to consider working for.

Matching Your Overseas Experience to the UK Market

Overseas construction industry experience can potentially be seen as both advantageous and as a potential negative depending on the location where you worked, the employer, the project, the scope of your responsibilities and on how similar or different the way construction is done in your overseas location compared to the UK.

One example would be with reference to a quantity surveying or contracts administration role, how easily your skills can be redeployed may depend on the form of contract you used and gained your expertise using.  Another would be the types of engineering codes or the type of planning software used.  However, such differences can often be overcome if you have solid fundamental Quantity Surveying or engineering or planning skills, and are flexible and are up to date on innovations and progress in your specialist field.

In the area of construction claims, the location of a project is often not much of an issue, as many of the companies in the UK work on overseas disputes from a UK office and protocols are often non-geographic. 

Desired Lifestyle

Urban or Rural? The London market is the busiest location in the construction industry currently. In our recent blog we stated that well over 30% of the entire construction industry turnover in the UK was coming out of London. However, there are many people that live a rural lifestyle in the evening and weekends that work a London job, due to the strong transport links coming into London. There are also more rurally based jobs around the country due to the various frameworks in the UK, and one off massive projects.

Is Your Experience Up to Date?

UK construction procedures are often regarded as rigorous compared to various other international locations, for example in relation to health and safety, planning, project management and cost control.  With the UK as one of the most expensive locations in the world to do construction, the industry is trying hard to be competitive and up to date experience and the ability to innovate and learn new skills and ways of doing things is extremely important.

We recently found work for a Senior Quantity Surveyor who will be entering the UK market in London for the first time with a leading international contractor on a highly competitive salary.  This proves that if you possess the desire, suitable skills, and the personality and professionalism to pass a job interview then going overseas and coming back again to join a good employer is absolutely possible.

Qualifications and Memberships – Important?

Qualifications and professional memberships are often a more essential criteria for consultancy organisations rather than contractors – but not always and depending on the role of course. If you are a returnee to the UK, looking to work for a consultancy after several years out it will certainly help if your memberships are all paid and up to date, or if you aren't chartered, well on the way to becoming so. This will show motivation and be looked at positively from employers. The Senior Quantity Surveyor we brought in from overseas to work for a UK consultancy is MRICS status, which made the process much smoother.

Salary Expectations

If it’s one thing expats need to be more flexible on in our general experience, it is salary. The UK market will not pay the same as a Middle East, Hong Kong, or Australian salaries, and people moving back to the UK should be doing this for other reasons – career prospects, exciting projects, family reasons, or just the sweet taste of home! We can offer expert advice on salaries currently being paid in regards to experience, so please to take our advice if we believe the salary you demand is a little high.


To conclude, if your CV is strong enough and you have a strong enough desire to work back in the UK we have the consultants to help. The website shows our most up to date jobs, and one of us will be in touch if your submitted CV matches the role.

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“Steve provided much guidance and support to me during the entire recruitment/interview process. From the first interview to getting an offer, he checked in with me before and after each stage to make sure everything was going well. Steve's service was on a personal level, and I'd highly recommend him to any job seekers.”

E.C. | Project Manager | December 2023

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