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London vs New Zealand: What does it have that we don’t?

The London bridge is not falling down, but rather being built back up, by our very own Kiwis as they ditch their jobs here in the land of the long white cloud and move across the planet.

Since pandemic travel restrictions were lifted, LinkedIn has been plagued by announcement posts of people declaring their departure to go off and live their ‘London Boy’ (or girl) life.

This London phenomenon is taking over New Zealand; everywhere you look, someone is either planning the move, about to head off, or considering the idea.

Another term for this phenomenon is, The Great Resignation, where in 2022, New Zealand saw masses of young Kiwis resign from their jobs and head off on their overseas experience, worsening New Zealand’s existing skills shortage problem.

But why London, and what do they have that New Zealand doesn’t?

On a surface level, London being a top decision for many people to move to is because of the similar culture – English being the main language – and because it is very easy to hold a working visa in the United Kingdom.

Another reason is because many see London as a global hub, where opportunities are abundant in comparison to New Zealand.

One Kiwi who is now based in London moved to the land of the Big Ben in May 2023 because of a “dire need of a scene change” and the craving to “uncover new horizons”.

Angel Roldan left her stable and well-paying job with great benefits as an accountant at Les Mills in Auckland for a chance to live in London, where she had no job set in stone and no place to live. However, she had a need for new scenery.

“I decided to shake things up and embarked on a journey to London, all in pursuit of a change in scenery and the thrilling opportunity to hop around European countries with ease,” she says.

For Roldan, the move has changed her life completely, swapping the luxury of just jumping in the car and driving off for a life of getting her steps in and navigating London’s public transport labyrinth of tubes and buses.

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“It’s essential to grasp unfamiliar social norms and cultivate adaptability, the change has substantially influenced my daily life,” she adds.

Comparing her life in Auckland to her life in London, she has recognised one major difference.

“London’s pace is something else,” says Roldan.

“[It’s] always on the move, you’ve got to keep your focus or risk falling behind.”

The pace is unlike anything she has seen in New Zealand, and from her perspective, she can understand how London is a desired global hub for everyone from creatives to businesspeople.

“Once you find your groove, things fall into place. It’s all part of the city’s unique rhythm,” she adds.

However, moving to a different country like the United Kingdom still has its downsides, and the weather is one of them.

With a rapid pace, Roldan finds herself missing the easy and stress-free work life approach that is heavily ingrained in New Zealand.

Recent research by Utility Bidder reveals that New Zealand has the third-highest employment rate in the world at 80 percent, beating the likes of Switzerland, Japan and Sweden.

The research shows that New Zealand’s high ranking is because of the country’s big focus on a work-life balance and a work ethic that is “relatively relaxed and stress-free”.

For many, a move to London means ditching the work jeans for tailored corporate suits.

“I’d recommend embracing a ‘she’ll be alright’ approach. Doing so could potentially streamline a lot of processes and make daily life a whole lot smoother,” Roldan suggests based off her first-hand experience.

Though she has moved to London, Roldan says New Zealand still has a special place in her heart, but a move back is not in the books anytime soon.

So, if you are another person googling ‘London vs NZ’, here is Roldan’s summary of the two.

Looking at both countries, London is an Auckland on steroids, where everything is dialled up by a ton, both positive and negative.

But just like any country, there are cultural differences that differentiate each person’s experience, whether good or bad. 

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles. To get in touch with her, email [email protected]

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