Sydney secondment.

(52 Posts)
smellsofelderberries Wed 01-Jun-16 18:20:33

What has your relocation package been when seconding overseas? DH has an offer on the table with his firm for a 2 year secondment in Sydney, which is;

- Flights to and from Sydney before and after the secondment- there is no mention of trips back to the UK so assume that's not included.

- $1050 'settling in' cash for expenses (apparently this is also to cover expenses such at deposit + first months rent and furnishing said rental hmm)

- An 8 cubic m surface shipping container (hence why new furniture will be needed as that's no where near enough space for furniture!)

- 2 weeks in a serviced apartment when we arrive.

- An agent of some sort (relocation agent maybe?) though not sure how useful that will be for us as I am Aussie so have bank accounts and medicare cover, no DC yet so schools/daycare no issue (but I'm due with our first in November, move will be in August).

Aaaand- that's it. I'm slightly shocked TBH. The salary on offer is similar to what he earns here, would take home a touch more per month so we'll have a similar standard of living to here in London. No mention of benefits either- here he gets £10k on top of salary for private health/car lease options etc. Obviously if that's not included (again-no mention of it in offer letter) then that's a huge thing.

We're going to sit down and eek out expenses but can't really consider moving on this package as we'll be massively out of pocket. My earning potential also drops a lot in the move- I'm a nanny so have the option of taking baby to a full time job with me here in London and that doesn't really exist over there. Figure we should be looking at more like;
- Slightly more shipping space so we can bring a little furniture.
- Much larger amount of cash as will need rental deposit, car deposit, new furniture.
- 1 month in serviced apartment.
- A clause to be added that any children we have whilst on secondment also be entitled to the same flights as we are, on return.

DH initially approached the Sydney office about the move so I don't want to be too demanding, but he is also bringing a very valuable skill set to an area of the firm which they are aggressively trying to expand. Am I being reasonable? (And have I missed any massive expenses?!)

smellsofelderberries Wed 01-Jun-16 18:21:12

Eek, sorry for the novel! blush

juneau Wed 01-Jun-16 18:27:09

YANBU if you're going to end up out of pocket. Fair enough that you get the same package as in the UK, but not okay if you don't, because moving countries, renting, buying or leasing a vehicle, etc, etc, all costs a lot of money, to say nothing of the huge upheaval in your lives. Based on what you've said I'd turn it down unless a) you really, REALLY want to live in Oz for two years or b) those two years will act as a stepping stone to a better job/salary when you return aka speculating to accumulate. Otherwise, I'd stay where you are.

CrikeyPeg Thu 02-Jun-16 02:33:49

On my way out but just have to say $1,050 settling in cash will last about five minutes. Should there be an extra zero in there so it's $10,050?

playftseforme Thu 02-Jun-16 02:48:34

The container is way too small. depending on how big your Uk house is, you might need a 20ft container. You can get the shipping people out to do an assessment (which is what we did). We negotiated a small flight allowance each year of the secondment which just about covers one visit back to the UK a year. Rather than buying a car for 2 years, does the company have any leasing arrangements? We have friends on secondments who lease their cars. You definitely need more expense allowance up front. It can take an average of 8 to 10 weeks for the container to arrive, so you'll either need to live without furniture in the UK for a while, have longer in a serviced apartment or hire rental furniture when you move into your Sydney rental. In terms of rental deposits, car deposits, furniture purchases etc you might have more success negotiating a salary advance that you either pay back when the car is sold, rental is handed back etc, or a deduction is made each month from salary. We had to do the maths carefully because the first offer that was made to us would have left us out of pocket. We ended up with something that was reasonable but not generous!! Good luck.

Motherfuckers Thu 02-Jun-16 02:55:14

Expat packages are not what they used to be... But that is ridiculously bad.

JellyTipisthebest Thu 02-Jun-16 03:00:49

See if you can get some air fright on the way back so you can bring cot ect back quickly to help your child settle back in the UK.
What about holidays allowance no point in being in aussie if you can take the opportunity to see a bit of it.
I wouldn't worry about flights back during but a seat for your then toddler on the way back at the end of the two years would be good.
We moved to NZ and my dh got money to relocate that was pretty much the cost of a twenty foot container he also go 3mths rental (it was an amount so we chose somewhere cheep and small so it went further. If he left before 2 years were up we would have to pay it all back. It was a forever move. We decided that if it didn't work out we would just sell our stuff.

stolemyusername Thu 02-Jun-16 03:12:48

We've recently moved states in Australia and there's no way that $1050 will go anywhere towards covering your basic costs in the first few weeks, the deposit alone on this place was $3600.

You certainly need a larger container, we had 20ft for our move and we had to leave things behind, but when unpacking we did realise that the removalists had wasted a lot of space, things like 1 mug in a whole box.

Do you have family in Sydney you could stay with for a while so you can get on your feet?

Unless you're desperately looking for a way to move over I'd be renegotiating before I agreed.

thetoothfairywhoforgot Thu 02-Jun-16 03:25:02

I would offer to ditch the relocation agents but ask for more shipping - and to have stuff shipped back. IIRC this will be several k at least.

smellsofelderberries Thu 02-Jun-16 09:28:39

Thank you so much all, this is amazing. We are fairly set on going. I am Aussie and with our first baby on the way I want to be close to my family for a little while, but the thought of blowing through our savings (and who knows what the AUD will be worth in 2 years when we get our deposit etc back and have to convert it back into GBP) fills me with horror.

DH and I got a reasonable way last night with a list of requests, will finish off tonight. So far:
- He needs to be sure he has a generous benefits package on top of his salary there, otherwise it's in effect a $20k net a year pay cut as these benefits are salary sacrificed. One of those benefits is the ability to buy extra holiday, which would be great. (He would also be happy with a bigger salary!)

- 20ft container. We don't want to take a huge amount of furniture as our flat here is more marketable with our lovey furniture (sob) but I do want to ship our bed, DH's piano and a few other bits.

- About $10k in settling cash. We will only be renting a 2 bed place so will only need a new sofa, dining table and bed for the guest bedroom as 'big' expenses (maybe a TV too?)

- 1 month in accommodation, so DH can receive his first pay, which will help with first month rent upfront etc.

I think we will probably end up buying a car as it will be cheaper than the lease plans I could find, and at least we can sell it before leaving to recoup costs.

I think we were largely shocked as DH had just chatted to a friend from his office who was seconded to NYC last year and they got $5k USD per family member settling money, deposits paid for rentals, enough storage to ship all the furniture from his 4 bed house, and 2 months accommodation, so we're expecting a lesser but not dissimilar offer.

We are looking at it as potentially a one way move, depending on what DH's career does whilst there, so we're using it as a 2 year trial. But if we have to chew through our savings to do it then that really defeats the purpose of him having stayed at his firm for as long as he has, as they really push their 'great secondment opportunities' as a huge benefit to working for them, whereas at this point it seem like it would have been better for him to move in-house somewhere, earn double what he currently does and pay for the move ourselves!

Thanks again all.

smellsofelderberries Thu 02-Jun-16 09:30:35

And toothfairy the letter specifically states that the agent doesn't have to be used but their services cannot be 'traded' for additional allowance in other areas. It's a really terrible offer!

smellsofelderberries Thu 02-Jun-16 09:34:02

That's just it play, we're not after luxury but we do want it to be fair! Would be happy with a loan for rental and car deposits, but there is no way we will make the same money back on furniture and don't see what we should have to pay for extra furniture we don't want.

Gungdjur Thu 02-Jun-16 09:38:30

It sounds like they don't want him to go? Hence the crap offer?

PotteringAlong Thu 02-Jun-16 09:44:17

If he approached them not the other way around I would also say they don't want him that much. I think it's a deliberate offer designed for him to turn down. Don't be surprised if he asks for more and they say no.

If you want to relocate for personal circumstances then you suck up the cost; not try to get transferred so someone else will pay for you.

eyebrowsonfleek Thu 02-Jun-16 09:59:59

Not Australia but he got
-cash to buy electrical goods as the plugs/voltage were different.
-3 months salary for settling in
-flights there. 2 months serviced parent
-flights home if made redundant
- shipping (no idea of volume)

What are you doing about your UK home? We rented our's out furnished and went to IKEA to furnish the new place.

sunbeamer Thu 02-Jun-16 10:04:26

I agree with Pottering, I think they are not really that fussed about having him. And as you approached them then I don't really see how you hold any bargaining power...

sandylion Thu 02-Jun-16 10:22:59

Wow Sydney is so expensive too I had a house share 12 years ago and my rent was $600 a month! I'd get negotiating...

smellsofelderberries Thu 02-Jun-16 10:37:13

They way it went was, DH had coffee with one of the partners when we were in Sydney last year to feel out opportunities. Sydney office sent out secondment request to London office, and one of the boys in the Sydney office who liaises with DH on deals gave him a heads up about it. DH then put his hand up and put a business case forward. So, he'd laid some groundwork beforehand but put his hand up when the call went out, hardly crawling to them and begging them to take him on.

As I said, he has a lot of valuable experience in an area that is just starting to grow in Sydney, and they are trying to aggressively expand with almost no one locally having the sort of exposure he does, and his colleagues over there have been excited about the experience he's offering.

I'm wondering if it has more to do with the economy in general than my DH specifically (or maybe I'm being naive...confused)

Scone1nSixtySeconds Thu 02-Jun-16 11:22:58

No mention of private medical at all?

When we went (5yrs ago now) dh was given $20k settlement expenses, flights outwards (but no return) and we had to take shipping etc out of that.

But he did get private medical, small bonus, pension boost etc.

Financially, the time we spent out there worst thing we have ever done, but life is about more than money. I was horrendously homesick and desperate to come home after 3 months

smellsofelderberries Thu 02-Jun-16 11:35:24

Pottering, as I said, DH has stayed with his firm because it's always been plugged to the employees that the firm support international transfers and secondment opportunities. They peg themselves as family friendly, great benefits etc, which compensates for them being paid less than what they could earn in-house (or even at other firms, in some cases). We would happily pay for ourselves, but having been led to believe the firm would support us, DH has forgone the oppertunity to earn more elsewhere and therefore for us to be able to really pile into savings (we're very comfortable but obviously if DH had been earning 50% more anually then funding the move ourselves would be easy).

More fool us I guess for believing the higher ups would actually come through on the opportunities DH is constantly reminded are available to him.

PlaydoughGirl Thu 02-Jun-16 11:52:05

We received flights (for 4 family members), £1500 shipping, £4000 moving-in expenses, and 1-week's hotel stay for DH only. I do wish we'd pushed for more though - those early days were a bit hairy (and the kids had to sleep on airbeds for a while).
Are you certain you want to ship all your furniture? Shipping takes 3-4 months - you'll need to have a back-up plan (e.g leasing furniture, renting a furnished apartment).
We've relocated from Australia to UK and the reverse, and only shipped 3 cubic metres each way (which fit a surprisingly large amount), as we couldn't wait that long for most things. We found it more helpful to have larger discretionary moving-in funds to purchase furniture, kitchenware etc.

FinallyHere Thu 02-Jun-16 12:24:02

If you have family out there already, I'm sure you are aware if the costing of living. We have found it much higher than UK, so much so that we understand that salaries are also higher. If he is going out on the UK salary, I would expect everything to seem expensive. Sydney could be a great posting, but not so much if you have to count the pennies.

By the way, our London office just stopped doing their 'spend two years in AUS' deal. They said that no one ever came back, so they were just recruiting for the Sydney office. Is there any way you could find out what his pay and conditions would be, if he joined locally? That would give you a benchmark to compare the deal you are being offered.

smellsofelderberries Thu 02-Jun-16 12:31:00

Thanks playdough, that's helpful. We will only be taking a few items of furniture that are too valuable to be left with renters. If it's between my antique walnut sideboard and DH's books, the books will be going to the in-laws loft!

DH has 3 weeks holiday which he will lose in the move if not taken, so we are thinking we will have a few weeks holiday before the start date of the time in the serviced apartment. Maybe we could suggest we're happy with a slightly larger settling sum in-lieu of flights, and we will sort our own travel arrangements there so we can have a few stops along the way (much easier on me physically late in the second trimester!). That way we'd have several weeks eaten up with holiday/serviced apartment while our things are in transit.

Scone, I'm sorry to hear that it's done you over financially sad that must be tough. Are you back on your feet now? At the end of the day, we will still have our flat here and we will leave as much of our savings as possible (not touching our ISAs etc), as we might be able to cover everything from everyday savings if we accepted the offer as is.

Right, thank you so much for all the points everyone. I think we probably went in with too higher expectations and we need to suck it up and stop being babies! We can ask, but at the end of the day, accepting the offer as it stands isn't going to be an all-in gamble for us. We will have quite a bit to come back to if we're really sensible.

Thanks again, it's really helped me clarify my thoughts smile

smellsofelderberries Thu 02-Jun-16 12:59:01

Finally, the salaries for his level are similar when converted, and he will be taking home slightly more than he does now (provided he does get a benefits package). It was always going to be an adjustment for us, as I'm going from working full time to being a SAHM, but I'm happy we'll be comfortable (even if we have to penny pinch occasionally, at least it will be warm and sunny grin). Also, as an Aussie we won't have to worry about some of the financial pressures being dependant on a 457 visa can bring.

Interesting that your company don't to Sydney secondments anymore. I did wonder if they want make Sydney a less attractive option for people. A girlfriend of mine just moved interstate in Aus with work, and she said transfer packages are few and far between locally now, as the economy is so unstable and there's not the money floating around there once was. There might be a few factors. Guess if we look at it another way, we don't have to pay for a lot of things and DH has a great job when we get there. That's a lot more than most people get when they want to move to Australia! smile

TerrorAustralis Fri 03-Jun-16 06:10:28

Think twice about shipping your furniture. With the risk of damage you might be better off putting your antiques into storage. And I don't think a piano would fare very well if shipped by sea. The humidity could cause damage. You could rent a piano while in Australia.

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