Rachel Hodgetts - From London to Sydney

Niaz Azad

Rachel Hodgetts moved to Carter Murray in Sydney from the London office at the end of 2016. Here she talks about her experiences as a specialist Marketing recruiter moving to the other side of the world.

Published March 2017

I have been in Australia for almost six months now and I love it, so far I have absolutely no regrets. It is taking a while to get used to though and the landscape both from a general recruitment perspective, and a marketing candidate pool perspective, is very different.

Some of the more notable differences I mentioned in an article on LinkedIn after 2 months in the country – all of these still stand:

Relationship rich, coffee drinking culture: It might seem astonishing to some (particularly as I have spent a significant chunk of my life living in the somewhat cooler north of 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 employees won’t usually work any more than ten or twenty minutes later than their core hours, whereas in London I was regularly in the office after 7pm and often after 8pm.

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 $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. 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. I would say to any consultant looking for sunnier climates and a culture where a healthy work life balance is genuinely endorsed, Australia is a brilliant option.