Job: New York City vs. Brisbane, Australia

By | February 27, 2008

A friend from work recently received a wonderful job offer from an Australian company and had been contemplating whether to accept it. Let’s call my friend, Nav. The new job offered a competitive compensation package, but the new job would also require Nav to relocate to Brisbane, Australia. Nav was in a dilemma. He had to decide whether to stay in New York City, where he was having a good time or to move to Brisbane, where he was unclear of the lifestyle there.

I asked Nav to weigh the pros and cons of the two jobs, the one he currently had and the new job offer. First, I asked what the Australian company was offering him.

The job offer in Australia was a consultant gig for an Australian government project, with a 6 month trial period, but the project was expected to last 3 years. The Australian company offered him AU$125 per hour (about USD$114) for his compensation. The Australian company also agreed to reimburse him for the first flight to Brisbane, Australia. The working hours were generally from 9 am to 5 pm, which is common for most government-related projects.
Next I wanted to know more about his current position in NYC. I asked about his current compensation package and his thoughts on NYC.

Nav was currently working on a government project for NYC agencies and was offered approximately USD$60 per hour. The working hours were generally from 9 am to 5 pm. Nav was from Toronto and made flights back home almost every weekend. He enjoyed the short trips home and would have to sacrifice this luxury if he were to relocate to Brisbane, Australia.

He had moved to NYC for less than a year and had no plans to leave anytime soon. He lived in a key location in the city and was steps away from work. Furthermore, his home was in the center of a shopping area and was near the hubs to mass transportation. He had gotten used to the nightlife and enjoyed short cab rides home in the middle of the night. He was concerned if he would be able to live the same lifestyle in Brisbane.

I had never been to Australia, but I have been told that the people there enjoy nice lifestyles and night lives similar to NYC. Since Nav was young (27 years old) and single, I told him that there was little he could lose. If anything was at stake, his wallet would get fatter. The Australian company was offering more money, almost double his current rate.

I pointed out that Brisbane, Australia would be a new place for him and it would be exciting to explore new places. Nav agreed with my point and had also heard many good things from people who have been in Australia. He would like to visit a country in the Pacific Coast region and would like to experience the lifestyle there. I pointed out that the climate there would be warm and it would be fun to relax on the beaches during the weekends. Since he worked out often, he could show off his strong physique.

I told him that the decision ultimately lies in his hands. Nav was reluctantly to leave NYC, because he had come to love NYC and NYC had now become his second home. I pointed out that he could always come back to NYC if the Australian project did not work out for him, but he said that he would eventually return home to Toronto.

Comparing compensation packages, I pointed out that the Australian job offered almost double his current pay and in that respect, the Australian job offer would win hands down. As for traveling home, even though the distance was farther from Toronto, I suggested that he could visit his Toronto home for less frequent periods, say once every 3-6 months, but request to stay at home for a longer period, and if possible, to work from his Toronto home during his trip.

The Australian compensation was certainly attractive. At USD$114 per hour, it was equivalent to an annual salary of USD$228,000. He was currently making USD$60 per hour, or an annualized salary of USD$120,000. In my view, the extra money he would make in Brisbane would definitely aid in building a larger net worth and would be resourceful for future investments. However, Nav might have a different perspective, because his long term goals might be different. Regardless, even he might not have defined long term goals, I pointed out that making extra money would never be a negative thing.

I laid out the options of both sides for him. I introduced my point of view and pointed out things that he might have missed. Here’s a summary comparison that lists the pros and cons during our conversation:

$60/hour, or an annualized salary of USD$120,000
Vibrant lifestyle/night life
Apartment is close to work
Easily accessible to transportation and entertainment places
Closer to Toronto (one-hour flight)

$114/hour, or an annualized salary of USD$228,000
Possible fun lifestyle
Warmer climate
Work experience in the Pacific Coast region

Nav had to make up his mind soon and respond to the job offer by the following Monday. I told him to think about it carefully and focus on his long term goals. I mentioned that it would be a win/win situation for him with either option. If he chose to stay in NYC, then he would continue to enjoy the city he always wanted to live in, and if he chose to relocate to Brisbane, then he would explore a new culture and be well compensated for it.

On the following Monday, he decided to accept the job offer in Brisbane, Australia. However, the Brisbane company would still need to confirm the position on their side, so Nav had to wait for a response. Since the ball was no longer on his court, Nav felt relieved and he would be satisfied with any outcome from the Brisbane company. For the time being, he would continue to live and party like a New Yorker.

Update: Nav received a confirmation from the company in Brisbane and will be departing to Brisbane on March 21, 2008.

10 thoughts on “Job: New York City vs. Brisbane, Australia

  1. Tyler

    How old is he? Wow, to get that kind of offer is crazy! I think I might change my perspective on life if that kind of money is to be made out there!

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  4. 40k

    If you don’t mind me asking, what field does he work in and does he have a masters degree?

  5. Jones

    Brilliant choice as I used to live in Brisbane and life is sweet. The moto for Queensland is “beautiful one day, perfect the next” and they aren’t kidding. Great nightlife, great restaurants, great public transport and very short drives to amazing beaches (an hour north to Sunshine Coast). He will not regret this decision and just might end up wanting to stay!

  6. Smarty


    Nav works in the Software Development field and does not have a master degree. The reason for his high pay is because he specializes in proprietary software.

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  8. Charles

    Hi all,

    I live and work in Brisbane and i have visited the USA several times.
    The wage quoted is very high for a Australian wage say top 10 per cent.
    On that wage here he can have a good time however it is extremily misleading to put forward that the night life here compares well with NY.
    Here as well work is at a much slower pace. Lots of long weekends and at least 4 weeks holiday a year.
    The Aus dollar is also strenghting quickly against the US green back so his high wage could get alot better.
    Several years ago things were different my sister inlaw went the other way, Brisbane to Chicago. She was sponsed by her company United Airlines. Talk about a bad move. Here in Australia we have had good wage growth ~5% a year, employer superanuation controbutions and high home appreciation (haven’t dropped yet) Also and here is the big one the exchange rate was one AUS dollar to 48 US cents. So now we skip forward the AUS dollar is UP the home she bought in the US is down when United went Chapter 11 she lost alot of benifits and her wage has stagnated. When she visits she doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

  9. Jordan

    Coming from somebody who lives in Brisbane – I think he will be disappointed by the nightlife. It doesn’t compare to New York. I call Brisbane ‘The city that sleeps’. On any night other than Friday and Saturday the city is quiet.
    However it is a very laid back city, which might be a nice change from New York. Definitely opposite ends of the spectrum.


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