After working in both London and Sydney, I’ve been asked a few times now which one is better to work in so I thought I’d write a post about the Pros and Cons to working in both cities. I worked in London for 6 years and Sydney now for 4 so let’s see what differences I’ve noticed since moving over to the other side of the world.
Getting Your Dream Job
I was really lucky in London, I managed to get all of my jobs through people I knew. I started off Buying Advertising Space for TV at a Media Agency, went onto Radio and then into Marketing for an Events company. The interviews all went well which kick started my career in the Media. It really helps to have contacts to make it easier to get your foot in the door.
For me I found there was more opportunity in London to move up the career ladder and it was normal to change employers and careers every few years. Amazing jobs were available and it was awesome working for different companies who were forward thinking.
Moving to Sydney on a Working Holiday Visa was difficult because the biggest thing holding me back were the working limitations. On this visa I could only work for an employer for 6 months, meaning I had to change employers there on. I spent my first year temping where I worked as an Administrator opening mail to filing and other mundane jobs.
When my Partner Visa came through (thanks to being shacked up with an Aussie!) this meant I had full working rights. I progressed from an Administrator to an EA, still temping but after another six months, I landed my first permanent job working as an EA/Marketing Coordinator for a corporate real estate company. It was then after another six months I finally got my career back in the Media working in Radio. It took me 2 years to get back into the Industry I worked in in London.
I’ve noticed people don’t change industries or employers anywhere near as often as they do in London. If you don’t stay in a job for more than 2/3 years in Sydney, it is often asked why in interviews. I have met a lot of Australians who have worked for either the same employer or same industry since leaving university which can make it harder for expats to get a job. Competition is strong in Sydney so don’t expect to get an amazing job straight away.
Who Pays More?
I’ve found Sydney pays more yet it’s more expensive to live in so it balances out. My pay has nearly doubled since moving to Australia yet living expenses are slightly more than in London. Housing is about the same price yet food, going out etc costs more in Sydney.
Work Life Balance
Depending on what industry you work in, I often worked late in London. I also had a great social life with work friends and we often spent time together on weekends as well as many staff nights out.
Lifestyle in London – I drank a lot in London as I was always socialising in the pub and not doing a lot else! This was fine but my head was fuzzy and I wasn’t very focused with my career. I loved living in London and being in the thick of all the action. With so much live music, galleries, museums etc on offer, it was an amazing city to live in.
I’ve found the hours are the same in Sydney yet it’s way more relaxed in taking time off and having sick days. I have worked for a few companies in Sydney where people would have a sick day at least once a week (no lie!). You can even take off a good month or 2 off to travel if you want to (given that you’ve worked up your leave in lieu), that’s something I never saw in London.
Lifestyle in Sydney – The best thing about working in Sydney is you’ll be really close to the beach. Imagine finishing work and going for a swim in the ocean afterwards? That’s something London can’t offer.
You’ll notice everyone works out in Sydney whether it’s before work, during lunch hour or after work. It’s infectious. Pubs don’t stay open all night and people go to bed earlier in Sydney so that they are ready for their early morning work out. I now get up three hours before work to exercise, something I would have never ever done in London.
You’ll probably want to get healthy too as there’s an abundance of fresh, healthy food on offer. People are way more active in Sydney as the weather is much better which offers you the option to spend your time outdoors. TV is dreadful so you’ll want to be outside appreciating the blue skies! With this lifestyle change, I am now much more happier and focused with my career. It’s a big change for the better.
The Commute To Work
My current morning commute in Sydney
Let’s face it, London tubes aren’t the most fun in the morning when it can take a good few tubes before actually forcing yourself onto one only to be squashed up against ten people. It’s hot and the air is awful meaning this commute sucks. I ended up getting the bus to work in the end which was so much better. London transport is amazing though with tubes and buses every few minutes.
I cycle to work now in Sydney, that’s something I would have never have dreamed of doing in London. The cycleways are amazing with traffic lights especially for cyclists in the CBD (city centre). My other options is getting a boat through Sydney harbour or taking the train and always getting a seat even if it’s only 2 stops from the city. The only downfall is public transport isn’t the best and I find I drive most places on the weekend as it would take too long to get a train and/or bus to get to another part of town.
Finding A Home
Hampstead village, London
I moved 3 times in my first year in London. I started off in Streatham (south), then Brick Lane (east) and finally settled in Hampstead Heath (north). London is massive and finding the right place for you is like a full time job in itself. There is so much to consider; a house that is liveable, house mates that are sane (let’s face it, there are some proper fruit loops in London), a house that is near a tube and in a safe area and finally somewhere that’s not too much of a mission to get to work that’s all in your price range. I looked at over 50 houses when finding my last place because there was always one of these must haves missing and I’m glad I waited it out because I really loved living in Hampstead. It was like a village right in the middle of London.
Housing competition is tough in Sydney. So many people seem to always be looking to settle and real estate agents will always do an open inspection (viewing) on a Saturday morning meaning you can be up against at least 20 other people fighting for the same property. You have to be super organised in Sydney by filling out your application forms before you even view the property. See here for a detailed Where To Live In Sydney post. The good news is Sydney isn’t that big meaning it won’t be too much of a mission to find somewhere you actually like as most houses are quite new. Be careful of older housing as there can be problems of damp during winter.
To sum this post up, London is the place to be if you want the amazing career but Sydney is better if you want an awesome work/life balance.
Working In London vs Working In Sydney – which city do/would you prefer to work in? Let me know in the comments below!
If you have any questions, please contact me here.
Thanks for reading,