The Media Market: Australia vs UK

July 30th, 2014

Life down under….

After having spent a few great years helping grow Zulu Bravo in London from a small three person company to an award winning Digital and Media recruitment agency, I was given the most incredible opportunity; to launch Zulu Bravo in Sydney and move overseas to start a brand new life.  So the cliché would be to write about how amazing the move to Sydney was and to try and entice all of those who are hesitant of relocating …well of course I’ll try and subtly do that but I also wanted to highlight the differences which I’ve encountered in both markets which always causes some discussion!

Fishing in a small pond

On arriving in Sydney last year, it didn’t take long to get meetings in the diary and start working with some leading Media Agencies and Digital Ad Tech companies.  I assumed this was down to the Australian’s laid back and generous nature whereby they are open to give people a chance and take a nice long coffee break in return for their expertise!  This is certainly true, however it soon became apparent that one meeting led to a referral and some name dropping which then followed by another meeting which then put two more meetings in the diary.  Everyone seemed to know everyone!  Now this obviously has its positives and it certainly worked for me at Zulu Bravo Sydney to build my network and generate business, however for my Client’s this has its downsides too.  For starters as the market is so much smaller in Australia, this obviously means there are less people to fight over when recruiting new staff to join their business.  With the ever increasing rise of new Digital Ad technologies and companies specialising in Programmatic buying, new opportunities are being created, with less people in the market so there is slim pickings for top talent.  This is causing both a fight for the top performing specialists in the Australian market and the struggle to grant sponsorship to other Nationalities and bring further talent in from other markets.  This is a never ending battle, both with the red tape involved with sponsoring Ex-pats as well as persuading those ‘needle in a haystack’ professionals to take a leap of faith into a new role.  Hopefully this is where specialist Head-hunters such as Zulu Bravo can make this processes easier with our Global Network of high class and digitally savvy candidates as well as the knowledge of Sponsorships and Visas. 

All a bit backwards!

Another striking difference, the slower uptake of new digital emerging technologies and platform in the Australian market. Programmatic buying is a perfect example of how London is just that one step ahead…

Programmatic buying began as a US-led innovation but it has now spread worldwide and even smaller markets are now picking this up very quickly. This automation process is being used on a wide range of technologies to automate the buying, management and optimization of advertising campaigns, the analogy being advertisers can buy ads the way they bid on eBay or buy through Amazon (however not to be confused with Real-Time Bidding (RTB) which is just the first step to Programmatic spending).  The upsides being advertisers can engage with consumers more effectively, automated buying can save money, increase efficiency and cut out error-ridden human labour in the long term.  It is clear that Programmatic buying is taking over on a global scale…

  • Globally Programmatic spending in Display grew by 20% in just the first few months of 2014, Programmatic buying in Video and Mobile saw 65% increase (as published by AdExchanger)

It is speculated that Australia was certainly behind in terms of how much they spend in Programmatic buying and the more advanced knowledge they have of the space, or at least they had a slower start.  Last year the difference seemed more apparent but this year it seems the gap is closing, especially with a lot more Digital Ad Technology companies entering the Australian market such as Videology, AppNexus, RocketFuel and AdRoll and others ramping up their presence such as MediaMath and Integral Ad Science.   Even Media Agencies are becoming more strategically focused and data driven in their approach.

Furthermore when comparing Programmatic and Digital innovation across the APAC market, Australia is certainly at the forefront as the most maturing market and it has been reported that Australia has become one of the World’s ‘Top 4’ most active markets for Programmatic media trading, beaten only by the US, UK and the Netherlands (according to Magna Global).

In terms of how that effects recruitment, when speaking to John Stones, Head of Product and Innovation a Mediata, he feels that “the last 6 years have seen a marked improvement in Australian candidates being able to hold their own against the masses of a digitally savvy ex-pats. While dipping into the 457 Visa pool is still important for many Online Advertising businesses, it is no longer essential to growing a strong team”.

With this in mind, Australia is certainly a market in the running when it comes to Digital technological advancements, however it is still a good time for overseas individuals from more advanced markets to make waves in Australia and join some leading and highly rated Digital Media companies who are expanding.

So here are just a few striking differences which I have found since working in the Digital Media industry in Australia I am sure there are plenty more and don’t get me started on the out of work bonuses including warmer climate, amazing beaches and just a better and healthier (minus alcohol consumption!) way of living!  If anyone is thinking about making the move to Australia within the Digital Media industry then see below:

  • Make the move sooner rather than later as DIGITAL skills are still NEEDED – Australia is a market still short of certain skills (Programmatic, DR, PPC, Social etc) and individuals are needed who have a holistic view of Digital and can identify innovation and advancements in technology.   But Australia is catching up so this won’t be the way for too long.

For any advice or to discuss opportunities that we currently have on in Australia and Asia then please drop me an email:

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