Comparing apples with pears

If you’re considering a move from the UK to Australia, the chances are that you’ve converted your current salary into Australian dollars (and probably added a lump on for good measure) to try and work out what you should be aiming for.

Stop. Put down the calculator and walk away – it’s not as simple as that. That’s like comparing apples with pears, and pears aren’t like apples – they’re taller and wetter for a start.

Apples and Pears

The reality is that you’ll hear different things from different people when it comes to earnings versus living costs in the Australian market – it’s pretty subjective.

A lot of expats move to Sydney and flock to beach side locations like Bondi or Manly. These don’t come cheap – it’s a bit like moving to Mayfair or Kensington. It’s going to cost more than Clapham or Camden. When looking at housing rental, rates may seem high but these figures include strata (equivalent to council tax) and water bills. So it’s not the same. You can compare relevant costs between the UK and Australia in this handy post.

It’s important to understand that you don’t necessarily get a premium for coming from the UK market (you can read more about that here). Premiums (if they are paid) tend to reflect short-fall of supply rather  than a specific desire for UK experience – exactly the same premiums are offered to Australian nationals when this is the case.

We also need to consider exchange rates – at the time of writing, the Australian Dollar is relatively strong but dropping against the pound. As this drops, your salary translated into Australian dollars will look lower. This chart will show you how much the exchange rate has fluctuated in the last year alone.

It’s not black and white. The best thing to do is to seek professional advice from a good recruiter *cough cough callDorotaoroneofherteamatnuclei cough*.