How working in Sydney compares to London: One year on


Rachel Hodgetts, Carter Murray Our Stories, London-Sydney

Last year I wrote an article on how working in Sydney compares to London, after making the move from London.

It’s been over 12 months since I relocated; with summer in full swing, an impending trip back to London, and a festive week of eating, relaxing and (most importantly) reflecting behind me, I felt there was no better time than now to revisit the article and think about whether I still feel these differences exist, as well as think about any others I’ve experienced in 2017.

Drinking coffee and building relationships: I now have my coffee order, and coffee name comprehension, nailed! Which did take a while (it’s a Long Black folks, not an Americano…). I have now been on many, many coffee meetings with both clients and candidates and totally maintain this culture exists. I would also say it is particularly prevalent in professional services – possibly more in this sector than some of the others, such as technology and FinTech. Most clients in this space are happy to meet, but it is almost always expected if you are taking a brief or looking to represent a candidate working for an accountancy or legal organisation.

The emphasis on life before work: My perspective on this has changed slightly; I still feel in the recruitment industry the hours are generally shorter, however in the smaller financial services industries, particularly wealth management and FinTech firms, the hours for all staff, including marketers, can be quite gruelling. This culture is something that definitely varies depending on the specific organisation you are working for, however. One additional trend I have noticed is that more firms are genuine adopters of Agile Working – the professional services firms have really led the way in this trend with PwC being named the top company to work for by LinkedIn in May 2017 – largely due to the changes they have made in workplace decorum. The bigger financial services firms such as CBA (Commonwealth Bank Australia) are also huge advocates of flexible working and they were perhaps the earliest adopters among the bigger corporates. This trend may have also been accelerated in Sydney specifically by the transport from the suburbs into the CBD being affected quite negatively by the Light Rail works taking place, making the journey for many commuters longer and more complex.

Salaries: I have noticed this trend changing slightly when I look at the recruitment assignments I have had later in 2017. The average salary for a Marketing Manager in London has increased by over 5%, whilst the average salary for a Marketing Manager in Sydney has dropped incrementally by less than 1%. From a recruitment perspective, in the financial and professional services space at the more senior level I have noticed they are dropping, however. Roles I worked on at a similar level, with a similar job title, in the same industry, have been advertised and briefed with a salary around 20% lower in late 2017 than late 2016. The only industry where I haven’t noticed this trend would be in the legal sector, where the salaries for business development professionals have been consistent. I am looking forward to exploring these trends further in Carter Murray’s first global salary survey specifically for Marketers in the professionals services sectors, scheduled for release in February.

Brand Perception: This is a trend that absolutely still stands in my experience, and the more Australians I represent, the more this rings true, particularly in the retail banking space. When I initially noted this observation I speculated about the reasons for the advocacy of these banks being because of the fact the GFC didn’t seem to hit Australia as hard as the UK. This may still be true, however, as a resident in Australia and a customer with two of the big banks, I would also say the way the banks position themselves and the causes they get behind plays a huge part in winning the hearts and minds of Australians and expats. Some good examples of this would be the way in which ANZ and CommBank celebrated the same-sex marriage vote, and the initiatives Westpac ran in 2017 – their bicentennial anniversary – such as the Dear Bump campaign and the Bicentennial Foundation.

As most expats in Sydney will tell you, the first year flies past, and although I have learnt a lot and built a solid network in Australia now, there is still plenty to learn and no doubt countless more nuances I will experience in my professional life here. I am excited to see what 2018 has to offer – and for those of you reading who would like to find out more about anything I have written in this article, I love a cup of coffee more than ever! For any of you working in London I will be based in our London offices from 5th - 9th February and would be delighted to meet any Australian returners or marketing and business development professionals from any nationality keen to find out more about relocation to Australia. Please don't hesitate to drop me a line: rachelhodgetts@cartermurray.com.au.