Living and Working in Belfast

Belfast is a city that has been in the news of late with the Kenneth Branagh Film, “Belfast “nominated for seven academy awards at the Oscars. The film stars Jamie Dornan, Ciaran Hinds and Catriona Balfe. As it happens, our Managing Director for CXC Global EMEA grew up in Belfast and CXC has recently invested in Belfast to build out our EMEA Sourcing Centre. Connor, gives his take on Belfast and growing up there.

Why did your company decide to invest in Belfast?

I am from Belfast and now live in Sligo, Ireland. I am very passionate about what Belfast & Northern Ireland has to offer both in terms of it’s talent pool and what an amazing city it is to visit & work in.

Belfast has been reimagined in the last 25 years, it’s a City that celebrates it’s impressive industrial heritage but has embraced the new economy with significant investment’s from Citi, Allen & Overy, Rapid 7, Alexander Mann Solutions ( AMS ) , Baker Mckenzie and more recently CXC.

Northern Ireland’s highly educated and skilled English speaking workforce provides a steady stream of fresh talent. According to a recent major survey, Northern Ireland is the best performing education system for primary maths in Europe, and the sixth best in the world. Some 77% of school leavers go to further and higher education.

Northern Ireland has one of the youngest populations in Europe and its people have a strong work ethic. Our people are highly committed with labour turnover rates amongst the lowest in Europe. A recent survey also found that Northern Ireland was the happiest place in the UK.

What Is Your Favourite Thing to Do in Belfast?

I love to visit my family and friends.

Belfast is a City that has so much to offer. A typical day would be to go for a walk on Cave Hill and stop for coffee on the way back at Belfast Castle. I always enjoy a weekend visit to St Georges Market which showcases the wonderful produce and artisan products that Belfast has to offer. I like to walk around Belfast City as it has a large number of impressive Georgian, Edwardian and Victorian Buildings such as Queen’s University Belfast,  Belfast Castle, Belfast City Hall and Scottish Provident Building.

In the evening, Belfast is the place to be! An ideal evening would be a pint in the Duke of York, followed by cocktails at Berts Bar at the Merchant hotel, followed by Dinner at Stock and a night cap at the Spaniard. A night out in Belfast rarely disappoints. There is a really vibrant restaurant scene in Belfast including Ox, Muddlers Club, Shuh and a burgeoning Asian Food quarter. See recent review from Jamie Dornan in the Financial Times here.

What Is the Expat / International Community like in Belfast?

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Northern Ireland, what would it be?

Belfast is a very welcoming City with great schools at primary and secondary level. Belfast has two Excellent Universities in Queens University Belfast and University of Ulster.

Belfast is becoming increasingly diverse and is a very young City with a young and energetic population.

Any Tips for Moving to / Living in Belfast?

If you have kids, the schools are excellent in Belfast. With Schools such as St Malachy’s College, Royal Belfast Academical Institution, Methodist College , Rathmore, Fortwilliam and Belfast Royal Academy. Please note, secondary education is based on a selection or transfer test and its very competitive.

I was lucky enough to attend St Malachy’s College which was founded in 1833, it is an amazing school with great facilities, teachers and ethos. The school motto is “ Gloria ab intus “ which translates as “Glory from within”. I use this motto as one of my guiding principles. St Malachy’s has had some famous pupils such as the Oscar nominated Ciaran Hinds, Broadcaster Eamonn Holmes, Former Ireland Soccer Manager, Martin O’Neill and journalist Bill Neely. It has produced a number of Law Lords, Lord Chief Justice and some notable Members of Parliament and bizarrely the Premier of Victoria, Australia.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Northern Ireland, what would it be?

Embrace it and enjoy it. It’s a great place to live and work.

Connor Heaney

About Connor

Having spent the majority of his career in resource and talent management, Connor has accumulated significant experience within solutions sales, product development and operational delivery for CXC, in the UK and wider EMEA. Connor has a proven track record of successfully growing revenues, profits and teams, with a passion for building and maintaining transformational relationships.

From Ireland, Connor leads CXC EMEA business, to execute the CXC vision in shaping the future of work. Connor’s focus is on solving our clients’ contingent workforce problems; he thoroughly enjoys playing a part in their daily success stories.

Raised in Belfast, Connor is now based in Sligo with his wife and two daughters. Outside of the office he enjoys cycling, watching rugby and playing tennis.

About CXC

CXC is an extension to HR and Procurement functions, taking responsibility for the entire contingent workforce. While managing visibility, cost and control, we also enable a talent first approach – including access to new and known talent and improving the engagement and performance of the workforce.

We operate in more than 50 countries from more than 30 local offices spread right across the globe. Our approach is to provide local knowledge and expertise, coupled with an unparalleled global reach and scalability.