After a couple or more years in London, there is nothing like climbing aboard NZ1 at Heathrow to remind you of what you’ve been missing: the harsh accents, the friendly smiles, the offer of ‘chucken or fush’. And after 24 hours of flying, nothing perks you up as much as the ‘welcome home’ you get from the grinning customs guy. As it’s traditional for Kiwis to fly home for Christmas, we thought you might want to know what to expect from the job market, information that probably wasn’t provided in the seat pocket in front of you.
The first thing you’ll notice is how much more experience you now have compared to when you left. Most candidates leave NZ after their first or second job here to head overseas. They arrive in the overseas job market – not just London these days - in the ‘sweet spot’. Big companies employing large numbers of twenty-somethings at the widest part of the corporate hierarchy. New Zealanders have a great reputation, bringing a good work ethic and a can-do attitude that locals often don’t. They also bring broad experience from their generalist roles here. Then they gather good depth of experience in much more specific roles than NZ companies can offer, move up the ladder despite their unintelligible vowel sounds, getting into senior roles at the time they are ready for the move home for family or lifestyle reasons.
That’s the second thing you need to be aware of: you will want to be back here for reasons other than money. Candidates who have been dazzled by the number of pounds or US dollars they have earned need to be realistic about how a much, much smaller market will pay. The same role pays less in a smaller market, more in a larger market. (Just the same as house prices but we’re guessing you’ve already heard about that, if nothing else about life in NZ.)
So welcome home, here you are with lots of fabulous experience and realistic salary expectations. What now? It will pay to remember that you’re not the only one coming home and the biggest demand for candidates is at the level you were while you’re away. The higher you go up the org chart, the fewer roles there are and unfortunately more candidates of the experience to compete for them. For senior roles, there will always be a capable competition, there is always an excellent runner-up. Experienced candidates can’t just rely on their experience, you will need to be proactive: talk to several recruiters or search firms, scrub up your LinkedIn profile and talk to all those former colleagues who have been envying your globetrotting Facebook posts. And be patient. It’s a smaller market with fewer opportunities, and it moves much more slowly than London, New York or Singapore. Which brings us back to why you’re here: lifestyle, family, the beach, weather, whatever. Just remember where you are and enjoy it.