I had my first experience working in the UK in early 2015. I was luck enough to be selected for a research fellowship at a PR research company located in Oxford. Prior to that, I had finished my degree, always working at least 2 jobs throughout.
I’ve been a journalist, worked in TV, radio in various shorter term roles and paid (luckily) internships, so I had a pretty good idea of what the ‘real’ workforce would be like come graduation. My longest stint (that was full-time for a while during my degree) was an Assistant Manager role at EB Games, near my uni.
As far as full time graduate roles go though, my only experience of them has been in the UK. There are many similarities to the working landscape in Britain to Australia – it was fairly easy to pick up on most of the customs that are unique to living here and compare them to similar things I have experienced back home.
In no particular order (and if anyone is interested or looking to do the same thing) here are the thing that I have learned about working in PR, comms and media in the UK.
The weather sucks. Okay, so maybe this is less about the actual jobs and more about the location, but I really do think that the weather has a massive affect on people’s productivity and just general overall happiness. Additionally, it feels much worse being stuck inside a British office on one of the very few sunny days.
People like structure. Again, not necessarily a bad thing (in moderation of course), Something that struck me about the UK workplace is that (if you are in a junior role) if you have an big idea, it is generally harder to get it through the layers upon layers of management you need to be able to execute it. I’ll always remember, when in Australia and out on a fire call with the NSW RFS, my captain saying to our team, that all of us – from the most experienced fire fighters to the complete newbies, has a duty to flag a problem. Often times senior team members can overlook the simplest of issues – that can be picked up by more junior people. You want to make sure that you always empower people to feel like they can share their ideas.
After work pub drinks are standard. All the time. These people can drink. And I’m not saying that Aussies can’t (because we sure can put it away) but usually, with longer commutes and after work commitments, generally we are not as adept at drinking our problems away quite like the British.
Long hours are almost expected. Maybe this was just the case in some of the places that I worked, but I have found that in my experience people in the UK work a lot more unpaid overtime (or just longer general hours) than when I was working in Australia. Although, this could have just been the kind of places that I have worked (and the industry that I am in).
Remuneration. But then again, the cost of living is a bit higher in Australia – so I am sure that the numbers all balance out in the end. Although coffee is cheaper in Aus, and across the board much nicer.
Have you lived and worked in Australia and the UK? What did you find were the biggest differences between the two places?