Get over it! The ditch, that is

Last updated 12:00 22/02/2013

JUMPING SHIP: We shouldn't blame young Kiwis for seeking better opportunities in Australia.

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Lately there has been an extraordinary volume of stories related to why everybody should move to Australia. I am here to say that they are right, and that all the misguided criticism should be shelved until it serves a useful purpose.

As much as we try to ignore it, the world is more accessible than ever before, and moving to and working in another country (especially Australia) is easier than ever. The decision to move, for whatever reason, should be encouraged and applauded.

How many of you started your schooling or jobs in small New Zealand towns and then in order to progress your career or education moved to a larger city? I put it to you that moving to another, larger country is just an extension of this.

Let's look at a hypothetical situation. You are a professional working in a small town in New Zealand, maybe at a five-person accounting business, a small pharmacy or on a logging crew. You went to university or polytechnic and up-skilled yourself. You work hard, you put in the long hours, you make a lot of money for the company you work for, but you can't get a pay rise or a promotion.

The business can't grow because the customer base is already catered for. All of your co-workers are older than you but have no plans to retire or to move up in their careers. All you can do is keep working hard until one day you hear of a job opening in your field in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington or Hamilton. You apply and get the job, hooray! But instead of a small town you're actually working in Auckland, and the new job is actually in Melbourne, Sydney, or Brisbane.

Family and friends are sad when their loved ones move to the big smoke but everyone knows that that is where the opportunities and chances for career growth are and they would rather lose touch than watch you languish and experience a plateau in your career.

So to everyone who is having a go at young professionals and hardworking labourers moving across the ditch, get over it. We don't hear the same amount of whinging when someone moves from Taumaranui to Hamilton or from Waihi to Auckland do we?

For full disclosure: I have a BE (Chemical and Materials) from Auckland University and worked in New Zealand for three and a half years as a Process Engineer before being offered basically the same job in Australia. In New Zealand I was worth less than NZ$70K and in Australia I am worth AU$97K (NZ$123K).

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