Where there’s a bail out there’s a way. Peter Manley takes a look back.
The so-called brain drain is something of a long-established right of passage for young adults in Northern Ireland. Thousands of graduates leave the country each year to seek their fortunes overseas. Lured by the call of higher wages and increased opportunity, like so many before me, in the spring of 1991 I packed my Belfast life into the back of a rented transit and headed for London. With the aid of London-Loot free-ads paper (the leading search engine of its day), base camp was established in a rented flat above a 24- hour bagel bar in East London.
Research of the job ads in the computer newspapers indicated to me that jobs in the financial sector paid better than jobs elsewhere in London, so on that basis finding work in the City became my goal. After a couple of weeks of biding my time in the IT department of a Covent Garden publishing house, I got my break, an interview with Lehman Brothers International. Prior to the 2008 financial crisis Lehman Brothers was not exactly a household name. Therefore, like most people outside the world of finance, I had never heard of it. The recruitment agent was able to brief me on Lehman’s credentials as a significant City player.