The idea of relocating for work has been popping up frequently in recent months, from recruiting for a regional-based role to negotiating for a US-based executive to move to Australia and a new member of the Kelly Executive team joining us from Dubai!
Having moved amongst different cities and countries at times throughout my career, I wanted to share my experiences - the challenges and benefits - and hopefully give you some things to consider if you are thinking about relocating for work or are trying to entice a candidate to relocate for your business.
My first two moves were relatively easy as the environments were somewhat familiar.
I moved for my very first job out of uni. After studying in Bangalore in South India, I was placed with Kelly Services India and was lucky enough to be able to choose the location I would work from, picking Pune in West India as my parents were living there. Three years later when I married, I moved to New Delhi with my husband, and was fortunate to be able to stay within the Kelly family.
For that second move, there were a few things I had to consider – first of all cost, happily there was relocation assistance provided so that was taken care of. Secondly, was the level of seniority – while I had become a Senior Consultant in Pune, there were no Senior Consultant positions available in New Delhi at that moment, so I took my time to consider the opportunity as I would be stepping down a level. Ultimately I decided it was a compromise worth making. It was definitely the right move as after three months I was promoted to Senior Consultant once again.
This theme of compromise frequently appears when considering relocation for work, in relation to the level of seniority and the kind of work you want to be doing.
If you are moving from overseas or sometimes even interstate you may not have the relevant market knowledge or particular experience and may need to compromise on your title, salary or responsibilities. You are the only one who can decide if that compromise is outweighed by the overall benefits of the move, otherwise you risk quickly becoming dissatisfied in your new role.
While I have sometimes had to compromise on my seniority when relocating, for me the sacrifice was worth it as I gained so many benefits in return such as increased market knowledge, greater work-life balance and more independence – most of which came about when I made the move to Australia.
I have always loved travelling and when my husband was offered a short-term project in Australia three years ago we decided to take a chance.
I was able to get my foot in the door at a local staffing agency until an opportunity became available within Kelly Australia when I leapt at the chance to rejoin the Kelly family.
The move to Australia is the biggest shift I have made both geographically and culturally.
The biggest difference I have noticed between Indian and Australian work culture is the working hours. In India, although there are dedicated work hours, everybody is expected to stay another hour or two on top of that, while in Australia you only need to stretch beyond the normal working hours if it’s needed due to project work or to finish a certain task to deadline. This is the main factor for me that has improved my work-life balance as I have more time for myself.
Other benefits I have received from relocating to Australia include;
My own experiences make selling Australia as a location for potential candidates very easy, although the renowned work-life balance, weather and beaches already have it at the top of the list for a number I have spoken with across Europe and Asia in particular.
The biggest challenge in relocating? I believe it is the cost. You cannot bring all your possessions (or property!) with you so you may be out of pocket in that regard however many companies cover relocation costs, especially for unique skills. It is important to negotiate strongly for salary to ensure you have stability, ensure you have relocation assistance covered, and if you have particular skills a company is looking for, possibly even a joining bonus.
That said, in all the roles that I have worked and in my own experience the cost is never too big a deterrent for a candidate to take a chance on a new situation. It is simply something that must be managed and compensated for where necessary.
Another challenge is leaving behind much of your network, both personal and business. The best way to respond to this challenge is to face it head on - the initial isolation drives you to get out of your comfort zone, establish new connections and create a broader network which you may have disregarded when staying in familiar surroundings.
There are always pros and cons to moving for work but in my experience when people are considering a move they weigh the positives such as work-life balance, opportunity within a growing organisation and even weather, more heavily than any negative concerns.
Relocating for work is a risk but it is a calculated one. For me, the potential positives have all come to fruition, so much so that my sister has now been convinced to relocate to Australia herself.
If you have made a move for work please share with me on LinkedIn the benefits you have seen or challenges you have overcome, I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Author: Sweta Khandelwal is a Senior Consultant with Kelly Executive.