Why I started a new career in New Zealand
Victoria joined Robert Walters New Zealand as a recruitment consultant in 2016. Previously, she worked for a consultancy in Belfast as an operations director where she managed five large government funded projects to stimulate the Northern Ireland economy. We caught up with Victoria to discuss her move, the challenges she faced and why she thinks New Zealand is a fantastic place to grow your career.
What prompted your move to New Zealand?
I’d been to New Zealand before and loved it. I was drawn to the possibility of having a city lifestyle, but also being just a stone’s throw away from natural beauty. New Zealand is a combination of beaches and mountains and there’s a great work-life balance, so the quality of life here is fantastic. New Zealand is a growing market so there’s a lot of opportunities to really boost your earning potential and career progression.
I got to the stage where it was ‘now or never’. I needed to make sure it was a good career move with a structured path and increased opportunities.
Robert Walters made the transition easy and taught me about long-term relationship building, understanding client needs and offering strategic outcomes.
What challenges did you face during your move to New Zealand?
The initial plane journey to Auckland was probably the most difficult part of the process. I was a bit older than your typical backpacker, I’d sold everything and left a good job and my home so I felt a bit nervous about whether I’d made the right choice. However, looking back, I’m so glad I took the gamble! Once I arrived, it didn’t take long for Auckland to feel like home.
What surprised you when you moved?
The cost of living: I was struck by the cost of living initially but surprised the salaries were higher when compared to the UK. I took a step forward in my career and improved my lifestyle. I have more career opportunities here, my skills are highly valued and I’m better paid for it.I was also surprised how many of my skills were transferable and helped contribute to my career progression. Skilled professional are in demand in New Zealand. I was able to achieve great career progression and wasn’t held back by any previous experience.
What do you like best about working for Robert Walters New Zealand?
When I first joined the company, I couldn’t believe how well structured the recruitment process was. I’d had a negative experience working for a large company before and I was keen to avoid working in a high stress and fiercely competitive environment. I’ve found working at Robert Walters to be the complete reverse of my previous experience. My colleagues have always been friendly and willing to offer support. In particular, when I first joined the company, all of my team took a genuine interest in showing me the ropes, which really helped me to settle into my role quickly.
The Auckland office is incredibly social and people are keen to get to know their colleagues on a personal level, so there’s lots of opportunities to get together with your colleagues outside the office. For me, this has been key to establishing roots in New Zealand. When you’re far away from home, it’s great to be able to build solid relationships with your colleagues.
My top tips for a successful career move to New Zealand
1. Let go of your career misconceptions
I’d say that the culture in the UK is typically risk adverse and there’s a tendency to view the job market outside of the UK as less stable. There’s a mentality that you can’t leave a job without having another job to go to, however, for me, taking a leap of faith and entering the New Zealand job market has had a positive impact on my career. Within days of arriving in New Zealand, I was in the final stages of interviewing for a consultant role at Robert Walters, which offered me a clear career path. I now manage a profitable team of four and love the variety and satisfaction I get from my role
2. Do your research before you make the move
Check out Trademe.co.nz before you head over This helped me to gauge how much I should budget for accommodation and I have since learnt that everyone in New Zealand uses it, not just ex-pats.
My top tip for picking the right place to live is to choose somewhere that’s situated along the train and bus lines. For example, Ponsonby, Mt Eden, New Market or Grey Lynn are all great suburbs in Auckland.
3. Just give it a go
I love the work-life balance here. I can go from a high energy commercial environment during the week to relaxing at a winery on the weekend – there’s not many cities in the world you can say that about.
Don’t be afraid to take the leap and do it – you could procrastinate forever. I started thinking about moving when I was 26 and it took me five years to actually do it. There was always a reason to hold me back, but in the end, I realised that I just needed to go for it.
A move to New Zealand is not going to be a step back in your career and with amazing beaches and mountain trails just a short drive away, you can most definitely balance corporate working with countryside living. It truly is the best of both worlds.
Interested in a career in recruitment? View and apply for our latest jobs.
Alternatively, please email your up-to-date CV to Jess Allan at email@example.com.