My move to Australia
Before joining our Spanish business in 2014, Begona Menendez worked as a risk management consultant at a Big 4 firm in Madrid. We asked her about her career switch and how her career progression at Robert Walters led to an international transfer to our Sydney office.
Tell us about your career switch from Big 4 consultant to recruitment.
I studied mine engineering at university, so a career in risk management consultancy seemed like a natural path to follow after graduation. After two years in the industry, I’d gained a significant amount of knowledge about the market and felt ready for a new challenge. I hadn’t considered a career in recruitment, but speaking with friends in the industry helped me to see that my market knowledge, coupled with my engineering background, would add value to a recruitment role.
Why did you want to work for Robert Walters?
The high quality training and structured mentoring programme were major pull factors for me. In addition, I liked that the company recognises and rewards high performance. These combined factors made me feel confident that I’d have plenty of opportunities to grow my career, so I was delighted when I was offered the opportunity to join the engineering division in Madrid.
How were your skills transferrable?
My mining and engineering degree provided me with a strong technical knowledge of the market. This knowledge not only helps me to understand my clients and candidates’ needs, but also means I can provide valuable advice to ensure both client and candidate get the best fit.
In addition, working for a Big 4 company taught me how to manage tight deadlines and stakeholders at all levels, both of which are critical to a recruitment role.
How has your career grown since you joined Robert Walters?
Within two years of joining the company, I was promoted to senior consultant. The transition into my new role was seamless, which is testament to the level of training and mentoring I received from the Madrid office’s top performers. Ongoing professional development is a key focus at Robert Walters and we are actively encouraged to attend events and workshops to develop our skills. Having the support to freely attend training and relevant industry events has been crucial to building my skillset and confidence and has also enabled me to keep up with the latest market trends, technologies and regulation changes.
After two years in Madrid, I was ready to take on my next challenge which was to work abroad. I was keen to work in Australia as the renewable energy and construction markets were experiencing major growth, with many big players in the industry undertaking large scale and challenging projects. It felt like an exciting time to get involved and I thought the exposure would be excellent for my career development.
How did the company support your move?
The international mobility is unique and if you want your career to extend to another city or country then this is achievable. It’s a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone, develop and grow.
I first expressed my interest in relocating to Australia to my manager, associate director and the HR team. Everyone was very supportive. I was put in touch with the team in Sydney and successfully interviewed for a senior consultant position.
After finding out I’d landed the job, Robert Walters supported me with the logistics of the move, including obtaining a work permit, temporary accommodation and flights.
What do you like most about living in Sydney?
I had heard about the incredible lifestyle Australia has to offer and it didn’t disappoint. The warm weather and great work-life balance means I get to enjoy the outdoors and beaches. There’s also a large expat community so it’s really easy to meet new people.
Describe the culture in the Sydney office
The Sydney office is a big open space where collaboration is key, plus it has amazing views of the harbour and Sydney Opera House. My new manager and team have been incredibly welcoming. It’s a very social office and people are always getting together outside of office hours. This has helped me to quickly establish great relationships with my colleagues and make Sydney feel like home.
The warm welcome from my new team and having the ability to work flexible hours meant it didn’t take long for Sydney to feel like home.
Why would you recommend working overseas?
Moving internationally is such a big decision, especially if you are comfortable in the office you work in, but I absolutely recommend it. If you’re looking to develop your career further, an international experience is always well regarded and it also helps you grow as a person. If you have the opportunity you should go for it - as one of my directors told me once - “Only those who dare, win”.