The job market
The difficult state of the UK and European economy is well documented, however, that doesn’t mean there are no jobs – there are always skills shortages to plug. Armed with a well-composed CV and loads of enthusiasm, you should be able to find work before long.
Helpfully, antipodeans and South Africans are looked on favourably by employers who appreciate their can-do attitude and work ethic. New Zealanders and Australians can work in Britain for two years on the Youth Mobility Visa.
You’ll also find a selection of short-term contract and temporary work opportunities, if you know where to look, which is where TNT comes in.
Many new arrivals head straight to recruitment agencies to help them find work. Whether you join them will depend on a few things, such as: how much flexibility you’d like (do you want a permanent job or short-term contract?); how much confidence you have in your ability to find work; and what you’d like to do while you’re here. Some industries rely on agency recruitment more than others.
Finding work through an agency is effectively a three-stage process:
• You contact an agency and arrange to submit your CV.
• The agency calls you in for an interview, and may also test you on your skills.
• The agency matches you to a job that suits your skills and experience.
The key is to be persistent. While many recruitment agencies are efficient, others you are unlikely to hear from again after your interview. Don’t take it personally, and bear in mind in the current market, agencies are being flooded with candidates.
It’s worth signing up to several companies to boost your chances, and don’t be afraid to phone them regularly if they’ve not found you anything. A little reminder often goes a long way.
Tax figures you need to know
Basic tax rate: 20 per cent on annual earnings above the PAYE tax threshold and up to £35,000
Higher tax rate: 40 per cent on annual earnings from £35,001 to £150,000
Additional tax rate: 50 per cent on annual earnings above £150,000
National minimum wage: £6.08 for 20 and above
National Insurance: 12 per cent of your weekly wage if between £139 and £817; two per cent on a weekly wage if more than £817
Going it alone
However, you don’t have to rely on agencies to find a job.
Those of specialist professions should check publications of the member organisations; we’ve mentioned a few of them in the relevant careers sections in this guide. Also, many national and local papers also carry job adverts.
Among them are the Guardian, The Times and The Independent; in London, the Standard; in Scotland, the Daily Record and The Scotsman; and in Ireland, the Irish Times and the Irish Independent.
Of course, don’t forget to check TNT Magazine each Monday for jobs or see tntjobs.co.uk.
Never under-estimate the power of word of mouth. Talk to as many people as possible.
Even when you’re down the pub, drop into conversation that you’re looking for work. Other Southern Hemisphere arrivals are usually only too happy to share their experiences and advice, and you may even get a heads-up about an upcoming position. Social media is a powerful tool. Follow your favourite organisations on Twitter and Facebook, and also connect with people
Don’t feel awkward about getting in touch with old connections, you never know when they might come in handy.
The axiom it’s not what you know, but who you know, rings loud. Some firms offer incentives to their employees if they refer new staff, so there could be something in it for both of you. Consider joining associations or networking groups as these can give you useful contacts as well as a bit of inside information on available jobs.
If you’ve got your heart set on a particular firm, you can always offer to do work experience, or work shadow someone for a few weeks and use the opportunity to shine.
Tax! We hear you groan, but don’t worry. It is a necessary evil. Once you’ve snatched a job, you’ll want to maximise your earnings and reduce your tax bills. If you end up with contract work, like many antipodeans and South Africans do, it’s even easier with the help of tax efficient structures.
“The best start for any individual would be to find a solution to maximise their money, by making the right financial decisions, based on their unique situations,” John Dunn, tax and shipping manager
at 1st Contact, says.
There are two major tax structures: umbrella company and limited company. The IR35 is a piece of tax legislation, which helps distinguish between people disguised as self-employed (to avoid paying tax) and those who are employed.
But before you make your decision, make sure you take into account the following criteria:
• Flexibility of your payment options.
• Earning level.
• Average hours/days of work.
• The type of work and manner in which you work.
• How much responsibility you want to undertake.
• Your financial astuteness.
So which of these structure will work for you in London?
If you don’t want to get muddled up with paperwork, an umbrella company is the best structure.
Dunn says: “An umbrella company acts as an employer for UK-based contractors/temporary workers. It represents a hassle-free way to maximise your earnings as a contractor, and is used as an alternative to a limited company.” As an employee, you will only have to report your hours and work expenses each week. Easy!
• Low involvement.
• Fees are taken per invoice and there are no set-up or closure fees.
• Beneficial for individuals earning less than £20 per hour.
• Responsible for all back-office administration, such as invoicing and payroll, so agencies/ contractors can earn higher premium or “company” rates.
• The tax benefits are not as good as those for a limited company.
• Reduced control – as an employee, you have little flexibility and cannot custom-fit your solution.
The limited company is suited to self-employed contractors who are ready to take on a bit more administration work.
“A limited company is a clever way of starting up as a contractor or new business with minimal risk, affording you the advantages of ownership along with certain tax benefits,” Dunn says.
• Lower tax – profits for small companies are taxed at a flat rate of 21 per cent (compared to the top rate of 50 per cent for employees).
• You pay yourself from a business bank account in a mix of dividends, salary and expenses, according to your personal requirements. An accountant can advise what is best.
• Ideal for those who wish to maximise their tax efficiency and
are earning more than £20 per hour or £40,000 per year.
• Dividends do not attract National Insurance and you only pay personal tax on any dividends drawn over and above the upper tax threshold.
• You can register for VAT/FRV.
• Pensions are tax deductible.
• There is medium to high involvement as you are a director of your own company. The onus is on you to adhere to all company rules, and there is therefore a high degree of responsibility.
• The fees involved include occasional set-up fees, accounting fees and Companies House (the
UK government register of companies; see companieshouse.gov.uk) fees
• You will need to be familiar with the IR35 legislation and be compliant.
How to write a CV that stands out
Keep it brief: Don’t bore the reader with details of your needlepoint prizes or ukulele talent.
Keep it neat: Don’t bother with a fancy layout; it should be easy for agencies and employers to find what they need.
Back it up: Always include two references.
Keep it clear: When listing your qualifications, include the UK and/or Irish equivalent if applicable.
Ensure dates link up: If you were out of work or travelling, include it.
•Boast about it: Under your most significant jobs, write in detail about your achievements.