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Australia Big 4 salary negotiation

#1 Australia Big 4 salary negotiation
29/06/2011 07:42


Hey, am negotiating a package for a Manager role in one of the Big 4s in Australia.


Was wondering what would a good salary be? I have been promised a Senior Manager slot within a year (obviously - subject to meeting pre-agreed requirements)

Based on what I have heard of Australia, anything below $135k (including superannuation) sounds too low. What do you think?


I understand there are some tax breaks available to those who go on the 457 visa. Does anyone out there in a similar situation know something about this?


Can those expats who are already there tell me anything in particular I should keep in mind while negotiating the relocation package?


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#2 RE: Australia Big 4 salary negotiation
29/06/2011 10:33

doraemon to wealthy.industrialist (#1)

Consulting in Oz is not the same as in the UK or US. $120 to $135k is about right. Industry pays 20% more than consulting when you are in mid level.

While the pay is less, the pace is much better. Do get better work life balance and easier sale targets, though you need to think about how to manage your career if you want to move back to the US or UK one day

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#3 RE: Australia Big 4 salary negotiation
04/07/2011 10:08

wealthy.industrialist to doraemon (#2)

Anyone with any thoughts on the matter - the upper limit for a Manager's salary in a Big 4 consulting practice.

Also, are there any Aussie taxation idiosyncrasies for expat workers that I should be aware of?

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#4 RE: Australia Big 4 salary negotiation
05/07/2011 03:26

oz worker to wealthy.industrialist (#1)

Was in the same situation as you a year ago so thought I would create an account and let you know what I've experienced:

1. Be pushy (obviously in the right way) in negotiating your salary - there is very little down side as they are not going to withdraw the offer because of this. The upside is you're likely to get more money and you're actually displaying your negotiating & people skills - a key consulting skill!.

I moved from the UK last year and joined one of the Big 4 in Australia on a 457 visa. I eventually negotiated around the $200k mark as a SM which is a good amount more than was originally on offer. I can't say that I know all of the salary bands but $135k for Manager is in the ballpark, perhaps on the lower side but this depends on which big 4 and the service line you are joining.

2. On a 457 you get Living Away From Home Allowance (LAFHA) which is an amazingly good tax break. You can get more info here: To boil it down as to how much it's worth, it can work out anywhere between 30-45% of your monthly rent while you live in Oz for up to 4 years. There are quite a few variables to consider - whether you have a family, your salary etc. It essentially makes a food/rent allowance tax free so in your case it will be worth around 37% of your monthly rent (which when you see prices over here, is a lot!)

There are some other things you can claim but you'll need to look into them once you're here and they are circumstance specific.

3. Relocation should cover the basics:



Additional expenses (should get an allowance)

Accommodation for at least 2 weeks on arrival


In addition:

- Try to make sure shipping covers everything you want to ship as any excess is expensive. Also, ship everything as it's very expensive here.

- With flights, see if you can negotiate flights back to your home country once a year

- Try and get more accommodation paid for to give you time to find somewhere

Hope this helps and good luck with your move. I'm a year in and it's the best thing I've ever done. My family loves it and were eyeing a long term future here. The only down side is the cost - going to feel expensive unless you're moving from Hong Kong or Scandinavia!

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#5 RE: Australia Big 4 salary negotiation
06/07/2011 10:11

wealthy.industrialist to oz worker (#4)

Thanks Oz worker, for your detailed response. Much appreciated.

Did your salary include super and a variable component too? I have been told there will be no variable component in mine and my number includes super.

Interesting that you mentioned the LAFHA. I have done some research on it and it seems firms go to great lengths to avoid giving it. Am encouraged to learn that you managed it from a Big 4. How easy was it for you to get it?


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#6 RE: Australia Big 4 salary negotiation
07/07/2011 01:40

oz worker to wealthy.industrialist (#5)

Salary includes super and there is a bonus of up to 20% which is dependant on personal and company performance.

They were really good about LAFHA and if anything actually encouraged it. I think it's the smaller companies that are less willing do do it because it complicates things for them. Big 4 companies have so many non Oz people working for them and very established practises around it that I don't think it's a big deal to them.

Everyone I know here as well as at other Big 4 companies has it and have not had any problems. The only thing to beware is that you can't say you intend to stay permenantly as they take it away straight away This doesnt mean you cant stay perm, it's just that you don't say so until your 4 year allowance has gone. It does mean you can't buy a property whilst on it but you can offest flights back to your home country and claim 40% back so there are other benefits.


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#7 RE: Australia Big 4 salary negotiation
08/07/2011 07:40

wealthy.industrialist to oz worker (#6)

Thanks again, Oz worker - you have been very helpful.

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#8 RE: Australia Big 4 salary negotiation
11/07/2011 01:27

Gunslinger to oz worker (#6)

I would agree with the above...there are many jobs in australia with big 4 ( and other consultancies as well). A lot of this demand has been driven by the mining boom ( the money created by it will eventually spread to the broader economy as well- then you will see many more jobs created). The supply of skilled workforce is generally stable ( in certain industries , unable to keep up with demand). Technology, healthcare, mining, and certain financial services are the sectors to target. They have the most money and favour the buyer ( i.e. job seeker) more.

Regarding location, mining is heavy in brisbane and perth, with melbourne and syd more diversified and reliant on other sectors ( including technology and financial services respectively).

As one the above poster said, LAFHA is a significant benefit. Take advantage of it if you can. It will offset the higher tax bracket foreigners have in australia. The big 4 have well established visa and relocation procedures. It shouldnt be an issue for them. Enter the country with them, and then you have options should you wish to switch employers.

Regarding long term prospects, the country is moving to a more innovation/tech base rather than simply pulling stuff out of the ground and selling it to china and india for inflated prices. This will take a bit of time though, however the long term visions from almost all political parties are the same in this regard.

Just another note: australia is damn expensive, as many posters have alluded to. Good saving skills are a must. Compulsory superannuation ( retirement fund) is the wisest thing any politician has done in a century or so, and serves as a critical part of welfare. Try and make extra contributions to this if you can from your salary. Its tax deferred.

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#9 RE: Australia Big 4 salary negotiation
12/07/2011 07:34

budgiesmuggler to Gunslinger (#8)

I just did this, manager position to big 4, promised SM within a year etc. I start in a few weeks.

1. tell them you are interviewing with the other big 4. THis will increase your pay.

2. Where I'm going I got top of manager band, which is 148 inc super. My consultant was surprised that they offered this much, but playing big 4 off against each other worked.

Don't do all the firms through the one consultant. You want the consultant to work for you too, and they will push harder if they think their commission is on the line.

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#10 RE: Australia Big 4 salary negotiation
12/07/2011 17:27

Amie to oz worker (#4)

oz worker, thank you for experience share, I am looking forward to go through recruitment process in one of the consulting firms and will get 457 visa sponsorship.

As you have went through the same process, can you please inform what are the main steps of the process, do you receive some temporary identification document after passing a passport to the embassy? how much money should you have on your bank account? do they provide support to spouse?

Thank you very much in advance!

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#11 RE: Australia Big 4 salary negotiation
12/07/2011 18:12

Amie to Amie (#10)

Other interesting and useful thing you have mentioned is LAFHA, which I didn't know about. Do you know if it influences on taxes (pension or income tax), which you return when coming back to the home country?

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#12 RE: Australia Big 4 salary negotiation
13/07/2011 03:18

oz worker to Amie (#11)

Hi, in answer to your questions:

An overview of the process can be found here:

They do provide visas for your family which means your spouce could get a job on that visa when over here.

You don't need to have a specified amount of money as far as I know. That is only if you're coming over to live without a job or sponsorship.

LAFHA doesn't have any impact on your tax or pension situation in the UK - it may be differnt depending on what contry you are from.


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#13 RE: Australia Big 4 salary negotiation
13/07/2011 10:36

Amie to oz worker (#12)

Thank you and wish me good luck with getting a job, there is one excel case study, which will be my first experience, as I haven't done anything like this in the past and interview with management and hopefully I will get an offer!

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#14 RE: Australia Big 4 salary negotiation
17/08/2011 10:36

doraemon to Amie (#13)

Big 4 life - oh, good luck to you.

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