Project Management in Sydney compared to the UK

Project Services

Precision Sourcing’s leading Project Management recruiter Craig Sibley recently caught up with HR Project Manager Simon Jones to discuss the cultural and professional differences Simon has experienced within his career across the UK and Australia.

Simon Jones is a highly experienced HR Project Management professional who has worked across a variety of industries within both the UK and Australia.  Simon now resides in London with his wife and two young children. At weekends Simon can be found consoling himself over another Stoke City result.

1.What are the 3 biggest professional or cultural differences you noticed between the UK and Australia when working in a project environment

Whether you’re Brexit or Non Brexit, Leave or Remain, Farage or Cameron, it all really doesn’t matter when working in the UK. We are so closely aligned to our European friends it’s a bond that I can’t see ever being broken whatever happens in UK politics in the next 6 months. In the UK we work so closely with European teams when implementing HR systems, whereas in Australia I found we tended to be more inward looking, maybe due to its position on the globe! I talk to various European countries on a daily basis, and thankfully they all speak English as my Romanian leaves a lot to be desired!


There is a common misconception that there is a huge cultural difference in regards to what is the “right way to behave in the office” between the UK and Australia, however from my experience of working in Sydney I think its very similar, I can’t vouch for other parts of Australia though!


One major difference is Christmas, and one area that the UK wins hands down over Australia. In the UK the build up to Christmas kind of starts the day after bonfire night (November 5th), the Christmas music starts in shops, Christmas adverts start on TV and lights are up everywhere, not to mention the huge number of Christmas events that are going on. It’s a massive party! I never felt that same hysteria working in Australia, as I do in the UK. Sure enough Christmas is celebrated but not with the same enthusiasm!


 2. What do you enjoy most about working  in the UK and what did you enjoy most about working  in Australia

I’d have to say because of the ease of living in Australia and where I lived at the time I was only 30 mins from the office, however this is almost impossible to achieve in London  due to its size so an easy commute is only possible if your role is on the same “side” of London that you live. As Sydney CBD is so small it doesn’t really matter as you can get from the “top to bottom” in no time. The point I’m trying to make is this short trip to work allowed me to combine my commute with exercise. I’d often take an early morning swim at North Sydney pool before work or run into the office through the botanic gardens, what a dream!


For the HR Project market there is much more diversity in the UK with a range of cloud based systems controlling the market. Success Factors , Workday and Cornerstone are very popular with a real skill shortage in these areas. I’m sure Australia will catch up and I know of some really big Success Factors projects taking place in Sydney at the moment but the market just isn’t as big as the UK.


3.What 3 tips would you give to someone looking to move to Australia from the UK to work within SAP

-Get your foot in the door early by compromising

-Be amenable


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4.What do you miss most about your professional career in Australia

I did enjoy the open attitude in Australia, it was common to have meetings with recruiters in a café, whereas in the UK I  have only met one recruiter face to face (I do a lot of face time calls which isn’t really the same!).


Australian Lifestyle