Aussies invade London

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London's calling - and Australians are answering. Walk into any London finance, law or accountancy firm and you'd think you were in Bondi.

Research from London-based recruiter Joslin Rowe shows the supply of skilled financial professionals is outstripping demand in London with 10 jobs to every four candidates. It found that 25% of all corporate finance and M&A lawyers in London are Australians or New Zealanders, and says there are 5,000 Australian accountants practising in England as a whole.

How does it know? Well, Joslin Rowe alone placed 980 Australians into London's financial services sector last year, and it expects the trend to continue.

What's the attraction (since it's not the weather)? Money, largely. Joslin Rowe says a qualified chartered acccountant with up to two years' experience earns AU$55k to AU$75k in Sydney or 48k to 55k in London - the equivalent of AU$118k to AU$135k.

Financial services salaries are harder to compare, as pay depends on deals, but James Nicholson of recruiter Robert Walters says Australians in London can earn "multiples" of their home pay, especially in bonuses. "A middle-office professional at junior management level in Sydney would get a 20% to 50% bonus. In London, it could be 100%."

Tempting, too, is the depth of London's markets. "It's big, it's exciting, and there are specialist opportunities," says Matthew Gribble of recruiter Michael Page.

Jason Cartwright, general manager of Joslin Rowe's Australian partner, Link Recruitment, says the downside is that after a few years Australians return home in search of a better, healthier lifestyle. They return highly skilled which is good for Australia, but it leaves London calling still.

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