How working in Sydney compares to London


Rachel Hodgetts, Carter Murray Our Stories, London-Sydney

I recently got on a one way flight from London to Sydney to take a like-for-like marketing recruitment role within The SR Group – a move I took for granted would be very smooth and for the most part (so far) it has been. 

I have, however, noticed some subtle differences between these global cities and after two months of acclimatising I feel now would be a great time to share some of these with you.

Relationship rich, coffee drinking culture: Some might find it astonishing (I certainly did - having spent a significant chunk of my life living in Scotland) that coffee drinking is such a cult in a city where the weather is generally very hot. But it is; and it is generally accepted that Australian coffee is the best in the world – far better than anything you could expect to be served in the UK and US coffee shops.  Perhaps it’s a catch-22 situation, but since moving over here I have noticed that my new clients are far more open to taking time out of their working day to chat over a flat white or skinny cap. For recruiters generally this makes the crucial relationship building part of our role far easier, but it is even more valuable for marketing recruitment; where understanding the style, strengths, quirks and suitability of candidates to specific work cultures is so imperative, and is something that can only truly be understood with a face to face meeting.

Work to live not live to work: Perhaps it’s the sunnier climate, and the more prominent focus on fitness and healthy living in Sydney in comparison to London (probably a result of said weather), but I have personally noticed that generally the hours both recruiters and marketing professionals work are on average shorter than what I experienced in London. The starts have been as early, but Sydney-siders show more discipline in trying to achieve balance – something I am trying to adopt.

Salaries in Marketing and BD roles: Brexit has undoubtedly had an effect on this, but even pre-Brexit, when I spoke to friends, colleagues and clients about salary I don’t recall a single person who felt the salaries in Sydney weren’t better than London. The median salary for a Marketing Manager in London was around AU$56,287, whereas Marketing Managers in Sydney are paid an average of AU$76,931. This gap is widened further when you consider the fact that research suggests the cost of living in London is actually marginally higher than Sydney.

Brand perception: Australians are extremely proud of their heritage brands, and so far I have noticed this stands across all industries. The most notable example of this is when I have spoken to candidates about how they would feel about working with any of the Big Four banks.  The response has been 100% positive, whereas in the London market (and arguably across the UK), the larger financial services institutions are generally perceived in a far more negative way and candidates will often actively avoid pursuing roles there.  Pre GFC this gap may not have been so wide, but I’ve noticed there is a sense of pride Australian marketers feel when they work for and speak about the financial and professional services organisations built in their home country that I didn’t  experience during my time in the UK.  

These are very early days for me, and I have so much more to discover about Sydney, from both a professional and personal perspective. However, what I would say to any marketer outside of Australia looking to broaden their experience, generally or in professional capacity, Sydney has a tonne to offer. 

And I’d be more than happy to share more of my insights over a world class cup of coffee.