5 benefits for South Africans and Australians working in UK travel industry jobs

As our name makes clear, we’re a company that’s all about travel jobs. We recruit for the travel industry and we are all also travellers at heart. Most of us worked in the travel industry before becoming recruiters for the travel industry. A few of us are Australian and South African nationals, who have settled here and many of the British staff have previously worked overseas in travel. The UK is a popular destination for travel workers from both Australia and South Africa, for good reason.

Australia and South Africa are major centres for tourism and travel jobs so people coming here have a good idea of what is expected. But, interestingly, according to current LinkedIn figures the UK has a higher percentage of leisure, travel and tourism workers than either Australia or South Africa. Of Australia’s 8,936,848 LinkedIn users, 0.53% identify themselves are coming from that sector, in South Africa, it’s 0.56% of the 5,442,609 who identify as leisure, travel and tourism workers, yet in the UK it’s a higher 0.75% of the 23,815,577 total. As you can see, the UK is also a much more prolific user of LinkedIn, too.

We asked our team members with connections to Australia and South Africa for their thoughts on why it’s a good career move for Australians and South Africans to spend time working in UK travel industry jobs. We certainly find that placing Australians and South Africans in jobs here is usually easy, as they tend to have a good reputation for positive attitudes and hard work among UK travel companies.

First, let’s introduce ourselves: Fiona Morrison-Arnthal, Director of Leisure and Tourism, a Brit who lived and worked in South Africa for 10 years; Bianca Pinkney, Sales and Marketing Manager, is Australian and has lived and worked in the UK since 2003; Lee Van Staden, Account Manager for BT & Travel Tech, is dual nationality South African and Irish; and Rosie Dunbar, Senior Account Manager Travel IT & Tech, dual South African and British, is now working for us in London.

Benefits for South Africans and Australians in UK travel industry jobs:

Shorter working hours & longer holidays

Fiona tells us that South Africa’s standard working week is 45 hours, as oppose to the 40 hours we do here. She states that the number of days’ holiday in South Africa is a minimal 15, whereas here it tends to be at least 27 days in line with EU law, often with increases as you become more senior. Australia is more in line with the UK, but the advantage of being in the UK is that you can take a weekend break in Paris or Berlin without breaking the bank.

2 More opportunity to progress in UK travel industry jobs

This is really the main advantage of working in the UK travel industry: that you gain valuable experience that easily translates if you want to return home and continue your career. Lee says, ‘There are a lot more opportunities for candidates in the UK travel industry. In leisure you can specialise in an area you prefer selling and in business travel you have so many options from implant in offices, and flexibility for home-working. There is more room for progression, as people regularly move up or change after a few years, whereas in South Africa people tend to stay in their jobs a lot longer so progression can take longer. I came here to work for better prospects, and to gain more knowledge, travel more and save more.’

More FAM trips, travel and perks

The team all agree that the UK travel industry is well respected around the world, and UK agencies are more likely to send staff on familiarisation trips so that they can sell the products more effectively. They are also more likely to invest in training. In terms of pay, wages in travel are better in the UK than in South Africa, largely due to the stronger pound. Australia pays well, but living in Sydney is just as expensive as living in London, for example – and travelling from Europe is considerably cheaper than from Australia. Bianca says, ‘If you’re careful, you can save money while you’re here, then use the money to travel – as it’s cheaper and quicker to fly almost everywhere than from Australia!’

Lee says, ‘I also came to the UK to travel more. It’s a luxury to have the whole of Europe on your doorstep.’ Rosie adds, ‘Working in UK travel industry jobs affords you so many opportunities to travel. I know Africa and the surrounding islands well but I yearned to see more of the world. Being at the centre of a travel hub like London makes travelling so much easier and more enjoyable because you can get to the most amazing places in 5-8 hours without having to remortgage your house.’

The help of travel recruitment agencies

Lee says, ‘As a recruiter I find companies like hiring South Africans and Australians. They fit in easily in UK travel industry jobs, and have a good reputation here. Approaching a UK recruitment agency such as Progressive Travel Recruitment before moving to the UK and getting familiar with what roles they have on in advance, would make for a far less daunting experience than waiting until you arrive here to start looking for a job. Having said that, back in 2003, I did secure myself a temporary role in the travel industry in less than one week of being here, but I’d definitely advise others to connect with us before coming. We have great contacts and clients in the industry, and often approach clients who aren’t actively looking – sending them CVs of good candidates, which have resulted in placements.’

Rosie says, ‘Things can be daunting when you first arrive in the UK, and the last thing you want is to be torn between multiple agencies and agents when looking for UK travel industry jobs. You need someone you can trust to represent you. The first year is hard enough with getting used to the change of seasons and settling in so you want to be in the right role for you. We look after you for the long term, we’re not just about placing you and leaving.’

Similar culture

Obviously, the shared language is a huge advantage to all three nationalities for working in each other’s countries. It may be a cliché, but it seems that UK travel companies love to employ hard-working and straight-talking Aussies and South Africans.

Fiona says, ‘Because we are culturally aware of the differences, we can advise people coming here about what to expect. We represent many expats from both countries, and as we have South African and Australian staff, we’re in a good position to chat though any differences in procedure, culture and UK employment law in workplaces. We have a good depth of knowledge of how others have settled in and any difficulties they’ve had, which we can share and help resolve.’

Bianca says, ‘I found that being Australian definitely helped me with my job search on arrival in the UK. I was met with such a positive response and there is an ethos that Australians are very hard working.’

Moving to the UK from Australia or South Africa? Get in touch now to see how we can help find you the best UK travel industry jobs.