An interview with Marshall Whitehouse
Hunter Campbell chats with Air New Zealand Financial Reporting Manager Marshall Whitehouse about his experience returning to the New Zealand job market after four years in London.
Marshall studied in the Waikato and started his career at PWC in Auckland before heading to the UK. Hunter Campbell assisted Marshall with his job search when he returned to Auckland last year.
Marshall – how did you find the job transition between London and New Zealand?
As an Accountant, working in New Zealand is actually quite similar to working in London. There aren’t that many differences in the standards so accounting experience is very transferable between the two countries. The experience I gained in London was valuable and valid for the New Zealand market.
The role I had in London was quite unique and specialised. I was there the whole time I was in the UK as it was a great environment and the people were very good to work with.
After that experience, coming back was a little tough. Moving to a new organisation is always challenging and it can take a while to find your place there. I was also aware that it would be a struggle to find another organisation with the culture and environment that I was spoiled with in London.
Air New Zealand was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, and it has proven to be a good company to work for. Once people join they tend to stay a long time so there’s a lot of institutional knowledge. It has been quite a learning curve for me but after nine months I’ve got a pretty good grip on it now, though I haven’t quite been through a full annual cycle.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently and why?
New Zealand is a small place and there is a good chance that if you are willing to use your connections, you might find out about roles that aren’t being advertised yet.
In hindsight I would have reached out to more friends who had moved back to New Zealand, or never left, to see if they knew of any roles or opportunities coming up though I don’t believe I had missed out on anything.
I went to see Hunter Campbell after a friend recommended Lee Marshall to me, and I was placed in the role here at Air New Zealand by Jason Hinton.
What advice would you give people in London who are thinking of coming home?
I think it’s important to have an open mind because it is quite different here. You are not guaranteed to find the same kind of roles or the variety you get in London, and you won’t necessarily get paid the same. Employers expect different things and generally, budgets are smaller.
It can be easy to get work in London because they like Kiwis and Australians, but you don’t get that treatment back at home.
There are less opportunities here so it can take longer, so be prepared for that. References are also actually important in New Zealand (they don’t seem to be in London) so it’s important that you have these lined up as it might make the process go faster.
What has been the best thing about coming home?
Definitely being back with family and friends and being part of their lives more. I have nieces and nephews now so it’s nice to be able to spend more time with them and watch them grow.
I do miss a lot of things about London, especially the travel and being so close to Europe, but we always knew we would come home and the slower pace of life here is good too.