Sunday, 21 September 2014

Elite Executive Services Shortlisted for Best Family Support, Destination Provider of the Year and Most Innovative Use of Technology in FEM Awards

Elite Executive Services  have been shortlisted for awards which recognise the assistance with and ongoing support they provide for relocating families as well as for their app Applocation Australia.

The Elite Executive Services Team has been shortlisted for the Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM) Expatriate Management and Mobility Award (EMMA) for Best Family Support Programme,,Destination Service Provider of the Year and Most Innovative Use of Technology in Global Mobility

The FEM Awards recognise excellence in global mobility, with winners announced at the dazzling  Awards Dinner on 14th October  2014 at the Orchard Hotel in Singapore.  Shortlisting in these three award categories highlights Elite Executive Services’ outstanding team and their commitment to ensure every relocation is smooth and the transition is stress-free. Relocating with Elite Executive Services not only means that the executive can concentrate on work rather than the challenge of finding homes, school and networks while Elite Executive Services provides the support introductions into a new community.

Elite Executive Services has its own consultants throughout Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, UK, South Africa, , Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji. 

Monday, 9 June 2014

Which is better: Melbourne or Sydney?

The age old question is whether Sydney or Melbourne is a better city to live in.  There is always huge rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne.  Sydney has a reputation for being cutting edge, showy, spectacular while Melbourne is more conservative, quieter and gently refined. In  1877 Marcus Clarke sealed the perceptions of the two cities when he referred to Sydney as ‘fashionable and luxurious’  and Melbourne as the ‘intellectual capital’.  Hmmm, I am not so sure it is as easy as that! Take the fashion industry for example. When Uniqlo and H&M made Melbourne their Australian centre which succinctly underlined the notion that Melbourne is the nation’s fashion capital with its designers hitting the world stage and Victorians spending much more on fashion generally than the population in NSW. Conservative Melbourne, it seems, also has more flexible shopping hours than Sydney so that the retail experience is available more easily. Beyond fashion look at architecture: Sydney’s architecture tends to the conservative while Melbourne’s architecture is definitely ‘out there’ as Federation Square shows us clearly. Then there is sport. Both cities are sport mad and have wonderful sporting venues. Melbourne’s MCG is without doubt the jewel in Australia’s sporting venue crown but there is also the amazing tennis centre which hosts world’s best tennis at the end of January and turns Melbourne into an amazing carnival. But wait a moment, what about eating? Sydney definitely has the most spectacular fine dining restaurants in Australia. Melbourne probably has some of the most interesting and inspired medium priced menus. Terry Durack, the The Sydney Morning Herald's chief restaurant critic recently summed up the dining options as that Sydney has the glamour, the seafood, the sunshine, the modernity; but Melbourne has the detail, the laneways, the coffee and the rich interior life.,'' Durack says. ''Melbourne's long-established food culture makes its diners more discerning, and the more demanding you are as a diner, the better you make your restaurants.'' Melbourne is a frequent winner of the most liveable city because of the ease of doing almost everything. A strong consideration! Then again, don’t forget the weather! Sydney’s weather is probably the best in Australia. The weather is amazing all year around and if you love an outdoor lifestyle then you are certainly better in Sydney. If you like rugging up during winter in a cosy café in a little laneway, then Melbourne would be far better. Spectacular beaches: Sydney is an out an out winner! Spectacular fireworks, carnivals: Sydney! Spectacular iconic landmarks: Sydney’s Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Spectacular, amazing places to visit with wonderful awe inspiring views: Sydney. Incredible journey to work: Sydney ferries! It is so hard to be objective when deciding which is ‘better’: if your dream is to have an early morning surf, a ferry ride to work and to spend the evening at a café under the stars then Sydney is your place but if your ideal is general liveability all the time then Melbourne is much more your scene. Both places are pretty amazing so whichever one you end up in is a pretty good choice!!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

House Auctions: why they are popular and what some Australian states are doing about underquoting

Auctions: some love them, others hate them and they are always controversial. For real estate agents auctions are a great way of driving potential buyers towards a set date with set open for inspections and the vendor usually paying for greater advertising fees and potentially display furniture because they feel as if they are very ‘public’ in the lead up to the auction date. This assists the effort going into making the sale. Usually the real estate agency gets lots of free publicity from the campaign as well. For properties which are very desirable there is a chance that an auction campaign can drive the price up also as buyers compete with each other. In Victoria, auctions also offer no cooling off period: the auction is final! The thought of higher prices is what drives a vendor to auction and the thought of a bargain is what makes it appealing to buyers!

If you are thinking of buying your new home at auction please do your homework. Underquoting is rampant so before you pay for a building or pest inspection and fall in love with the home make sure that you are not being misled. Agents will often advertise the home at a lower price than it will be likely to sell for in order to drive interest and demand. By inflaming desire they guarantee a larger crowd on auction day and each under bidder, even though their bidding ceiling is low, plays a part in driving the price up. Find out what other homes have sold for in the area, compare the land size and check out the contract as well.

In Queensland there are currently some auction reforms which are being pushed which may also come into play in other states. The Queensland Government would like to see an end to underquoting and is planning to ban price guides at auctions. Real estate agents are worried that this will impact the effectiveness of auctions. In South Australia the auction system advertises the higher of what the agent feels the house is worth and what the owner wants to sell for and keeps the reserve price at no more than 10% above that.

The strongest advice for anyone thinking of buying at an auction is to attend plenty of them especially in your preferred purchase area.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Moving to Australia : pregnant and with toddler in tow!

Libby had always wanted to move to Australia but when Tom came home and told her that there was an opportunity to move to Sydney but he needed to be there at the end of the following month she ended up in the bathroom throwing up and crying while Sam howled at the door. She could not imagine any worse timing and the joy of living Downunder was replaced by certain dread! She had moved before when Sam was six months old and that was quite stressful enough but to move across the world was a thought too awful to bear.
The reality is that these opportunities often come when you have just settled into starting a family: it is the time of life when all the hard work is paying off, recognition is knocking at the door but it coincides so often with sleepless nights, teething, terrible twos and morning sickness. So how do people cope?
The first thing to do is to get help! Employing a relocation agent at your new destination can be a lifesaver. They will be able to take out so much of the legwork of steering you to the right suburbs where you will be able to connect with people at the same stage of life, arranging your first off short term accommodation, finding a new home, renting furniture until your own arrives, introducing you to playgroups, kindergartens and family assistance. They will have tips about swim school, maternal health nurses and centres, doctors, dentists, and then all the practical stuff about driving and where to buy a car, where to get your licence changed, reasonable mobile phone plans and even where to get your hair done!
Most relocation agents can start the process for you of getting removals quotations and recommending removal companies with a good reputation.  Ask each of the removalists how they make it easy on young families: choose the one which is most caring and has some thought through strategies for move day! Make it easy on yourself and get them to do all the packing for you. You can also get a valet unpack at the destination to unpack those boxes and put them away. At home enlist the help of family and friends so that you can get as organised as possible but try as far as you can to keep normal routines with your toddler. Toddlers immediately sense stress and can react badly to change so gently does it with lots of cuddles and shared quiet time  as far as possible keeping disruption to times when they are asleep or not around.
Remember when the time for packing comes that there will be some things you should leave out to take with you: a packed bag for yourself; favourite toys; snacks for you and the toddler especially but nothing too sugary, a couple of favourite books, nappies and wipes, a first aid kit, the stroller and child seats for the car when you arrive. (Make sure your car seats comply with Australian regulations). You may prefer to have a car meet you at the airport, in which case make sure they know to have a seat installed for your toddler or if you are hiring a car also ask for a seat for your little one.
Libby’s move to Sydney didn’t have much lead up time at all but thankfully her relocation consultant was exactly on the same page and was able to help her enormously. In their case they decided to secure a rental home before they arrived so that when they landed they went straight to their new home which their consultant had set up with rental furniture: suburb, home and furniture were all chosen by photos sent over emails. Libby, Sam, Tom and baby Hudson are well settled in now and love their new life but her strong sentiment to others in a similar predicament is, “Get the help and save your sanity!”

15 minutes from the city

Go to any train or tram stop fifteen minutes from any of Australia’s major cities at peak hour and you will find fifty somethings with designer clothes and shoes and smart phones alongside twenty somethings with piercings, tattoos and smartphones. Suburbs which once housed the warehouses and industries which drove the cities have been gentrified.  Old depots become trendy apartments, warehouses display  wooden beams above Italian marble kitchen benches and the terrace houses where merchants used to live are share houses with bikes along the corridors and surfboards out the back. The world has changed and the baby boomers want to taste that edgy, vibrant energy in bustling cafes and eclectic fashion boutiques without giving away too many of their creature comforts. Yet, by moving into the new apartment blocks and townhouses, often paying over the odds for the accommodation, they are squeezing out the twenty somethings who created the hipster culture they crave! Where are the twenty somethings going: back to the suburbs they grew up in at the end of the train line!

Relocation consultants who have been assisting corporates to find rental  homes in their new destination city are reporting that for older executives whose families are grown up there is much more demand for hugging the city fringes and abandoning the backyard and extra bedrooms in favour of cutting edge apartments, converted industrial buildings and renovated workers cottages. This demand pushes rental prices up and makes it tough on up and coming youngsters who don’t want huge taxi fares getting back from nightclubs at the weekend.

Part of this obsession with being close to the city is that Australian cities have reinvented themselves and are now a hive of activity at weekends with festivals, parades, markets and sporting events which carry the collective enthusiasm of the community. Events are for everyone so it is no surprise that baby boomers want to be close at hand. The cafes and restaurants and yogurt and ice cream parlours set up for a different  demographic are just as seductive places for young and older to hang out and watch the world go by ….with their smartphone close at hand! 

Relocation in the digital age

In a digital age where Facebook ‘friends’ and linked in connections are often numbered in hundreds, where speed is of the essence and we seemingly know every thought, every movement, every happening around us, it can be a lonely place out there especially for newcomers. Australia is encouraging and driving its digital revolution with great innovation and flair but as new technologies explode onto the Australia market and more people communicate with clicks and touch than spoken words there is something else happening, something all embracing which in successful in part because of Australia’s climate, in part to do with our multiculturalism and in part to do with the intrinsic values that have honed a nation. Australia’s young cities have invested in community: real physical connection, magnificent human gatherings to celebrate almost anything, assuring our many newcomers that they belong as much as the next man.

 With each oohh and ahhh as the fireworks catapult through the sky there is a wave of certainty in the commonality of the experience. The crowd holds its breath while the tightrope walker teeters high between the buildings and the people below reach out to each other with gasps and murmurs of admiration. It is addictive, that togetherness, that belonging to community and Australia does it so well!
Every weekend, all over Australia there are festivals, fairs, community markets, events which in other countries would not happen or be so well attended merely because the weather prevents such experiences happening with such regularity. We are lucky in Australia, that it can be cold, it can be wet, it can be windy and it can be incredibly hot but the chances of good weather are relatively high for a good portion of the day.
If you are new you can guarantee that you will be able to wander along to any number of events, often at almost no cost, and that the people will be genuinely friendly! This collective experience will be made up of peoples from almost every nationality because Australia is truly a melting pot of many nations and so, as well as often connecting with people because of the communality of having relocated, it is not unusual to strike up conversation with people from your home country! Even if you don’t meet other newcomers, there is a deep sense of connection n Australia which sits at the heart of its values: reaching out to others, helping ‘mates’ whether you know them or not, genuinely being interested in others. This is something as old as Australian time when aboriginal culture instilled community values and passed them down generation after generation. But there is something more than this happening as well.

Australia is taking its vibrant and dynamic art and culture into the community. Recently Melbourne staged White Night where almost half a million people descended on the city to take part in one of the most spectacular artistic triumphs in Australia. The experience was mind boggling and even as the crowd jostled to see more and more of the city on show there was a sense of collective pride. Over 300 artists across the city made Melbourne visible on an international scale but most importantly reinforced the drawing together of locals. Recent newcomers felt as much a art of the dazzling spectacle as old timers! Australia really understands taking art to the people, drawing a crowd and harnessing community energy.
The Sydney Festival, Australia’s spectacular arts and cultural festival showcases  music, theatre, dance and other events right across Sydney while every major city is doing the same thing. And then there is food! Every city has it’s community markets, farmers markets where everybody gets to know the stallholders and there is an easy opportunity to catch up with new found friends with no pressure.

You will also find that different nationalities have celebrations around the cities and this is usually a food fest as much as anything else. Again a great opportunity to meet up with others. And we mustn’t forget sport: wonderful events from triathlons to team sport to horse racing and the list goes on: Australia does it with enormous flair. There is a craving for more and more coming together in ways which are reminiscent of past ages but offer amazing opportunities to connect and Australia is right ahead of the game.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Getting a job in Australia

One of the questions we get asked the most is about how to get a job in Australia . One of the pieces of advice we give is to look at the employment sites listed on the Elite Executive Services helpful links. offers an opportunity to post your CV and it takes very little time and there is no fee for doing it. You might also look at websites such as which also has a wealth of information or go to the Employment section on the free relocation app Applocation Australia.

Don’t forget to use social media channels and spend time on your  LinkedIn profile. The numbers of positions being filled by Australian employers using LinkedIn is increasing every year. Make sure that when those who are looking to find someone with your skills search LinkedIn that your profile stands out.

Krista Canfield, a LinkedIn spokeswoman, suggests that a profile with a photo is seven times more likely to be viewed than one that does not have a photo. Make sure that your photo is a head shot and that it reflects you well: some of the photos of people on LinkedIn would scare prospective employers away .

Your Headline is what will attract searchers to your profile and so make sure that it has the right keywords and is eye catching.  Melonie Dodaro, founder of Top Dog Social Media, a social-media marketing company points out that you need to be at the top of LinkedIn search results and so need to use the keywords which are most relevant to your skills and experience.  See her infographic on creating a great LinkedIn profile.

Use keywords again in the summary part of your LinkedIn profile and again make it as interesting as you can. Keep it short and to the point but make people want to meet you. Dodaro recommends a call to action in the summary such as  “If I sound like somebody who could add value to your organization, I’d love to talk to you about how to do that. Here’s how to contact me.”
When you complete your profile make sure that it is as thorough as possible. The skills you brought with you from an earlier job may be an attractive mix when coupled with your previous job. Not every employer is looking for the same things. Apparently profiles of LinkedIn users having  more than one job position listed are twelve times likelier to be viewed than those who have listed only one.
When your profile is as good as it can be search for groups relevant to your ideal job and start following prospective companies within the industry you wish to enter. This is a great way to see what is happening in the Australian workforce and to gain valuable knowledge for interviews as well as making yourself more visible.

Good Luck!!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

A few quotes worth thinking about on Australia Day

Australia Day, is celebrated on January 26th ,  and as it falls on a Sunday in 2014, Monday 27th is also a public holiday. It  is a time when the whole nation joins in the joy of being a country which most people in the world applaud and which other nationalities consistently vote the country they would most like to reside in. All around Australia there are celebrations including, flag raising ceremonies, citizenship ceremonies, marches, plenty of free entertainment in parks and for most cities a spectacular firework display to finish off the proceedings!
Australia Day was originally named Foundation Day celebrating the day in 1788 when Captain Arthur Phillip sailed into Sydney Cove with the 11 convict ships which comprised the First Fleet. Primarily European focused, the celebration did not really recognise the aborigines whose home it had been for thousands of years. As time has moved on Australia Day began to celebrate all the states of Australia joining together to become one nation and subsequently it is now more to do with the celebration of what it means to be Australian.
Australians now hail from a multitude of backgrounds but there are some values which are held to be essentially Australian particularly, striving for success, battling against the odds, mateship, fair play, supporting the underdog, a love of humour and valuing the great outdoors. 

A few quotes below are worth thinking about on Australia Day:

Those who lose dreaming are lost - Australian Aboriginal proverb

If you go out for a big night and by some misadventure you end up in a prison cell, you can count on your best friend to bail you out, but your best mate will be in there besides you Australian observation

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour – anon

Australia's greatest strength is that a tradesmen and CEO can sit down at a pub, share a beer and learn from each other-anon

Before you criticise someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticise them, you're a mile away and have their shoes – anon

They who came here in chains, who were lashed while they worked in convict gangs at Port Arthur. They who like many others were driven through starvation or oppression from their home-lands to the shores of this new country, Australia. They, who for a multitude of reasons that hopefully, I or my children will never witness or experience, decided not to harbour grudges or discontent but rather to look to the future. They who embraced this country as their own and said; "let's get on with it, this is a new land, this is our home. Dennis O'Keeffe – Musician

What rugby league teaches you is that everything is temporary. The dead-set certainty is that there's adversity coming as well as success. You may as well make the most of it while you can. Matthew Elliott - football coach

Never complain, never explain personal motto of Kerry Packer – billionaire

A champion team will always beat a team of champions - Early Collingwood Magpies teams
Unless you're willing to have a go, fail miserably, and have another go, success won't happen Phillip Adams - journalist

As a leader you must celebrate life, you must celebrate success and paradoxically, you must celebrate heroic failures Lieutenant General D.M. Mueller

All our best heroes are losers Richard Glover - radio presenter

The true Aussie battler and his wife thrust doggedly onwards: starting again, failing again, implacably thrusting towards success. For success, even if it is only the success of knowing that one has tried to the utmost and never surrendered, is the target of every battler Michael Page & Robert Inapen - authors

It's dead easy to die; it's the keeping on living that's hard - Douglas Mawson - Scientist and polar survivor

You never want an Australian with his back against the wall. You put any 12 blokes together and you'll get a job done. Whether it's getting a bogged four-wheel-drive off the beach or standing in front of a cricket wicket and making sure we're in a dominant position. It's the same dog, different leg action, so to speak - Matthew Hayden - cricket player

It is better to be defeated on principle than to win on lies Arthur Calwell - Politician

If the guy next to you is swearing like a wharfie he's probably a billionaire. Or, just conceivably, a wharfie - Australian observation

Being Australian is about driving in a German car to an Irish pub for a Belgian beer, then travelling home, grabbing an Indian curry or a Turkish kebab on the way, to sit on Swedish furniture and watch American shows on a Japanese TV -anon

Friday, 10 January 2014

Private Schools in Australia: is it worth it?

Whether you are moving to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth or anywhere else in Australia, if you have children you will be wondering about the education system in Australia. One of your questions may be ‘Is it worth putting my children in a private school?’ It is a big investment. Some elite private schools can cost over $30,000 a year for some grades. You want to do the best you can for your children and when you see results tables, facilities, a who’s who of success stories who went through the school you may think that this is a must have option. But is it?

Some parents forget that not all schools suit all children and knowing what is the best school for your child is not always a case of throwing a lot of money at it. Private schools usually, but not always, have smaller classes, usually but not always have better facilities and usually but not always have really good teachers. The four main things to decide are whether a school suits your child intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically.  If your child is not at all academic, for example, but an amazing sportsperson they may feel crushed by a private school on a tiny campus that is driven by academic results. There may be a state school in the same area which runs terrific sports programs, has great sports fields and would allow your child to thrive in an environment where there are lots of sporty children enjoying great camaraderie. Not all private schools will tick off all the boxes for your child.

While all schools follow the same curriculum set down by the state, teaching styles can be wildly different and this too is a factor. Check this carefully. Also do not assume that every child who goes to private school will get fantastic marks as universities are full of students who did not go to private school and yet received great final scores. Make sure you have a good look at the school in action, look at how the teachers address the students and the relationship the students have with the teachers. Also take note of how the students treat each other, how they care for the environment they are in, what is up on the walls, what clubs and after school activities they offer and whether they are encouraged to give back to the community. Is this a community which encourages parental involvement or not. How are international students treat? Would you like your child to turn out like the children you see at the school? Are the students happy?

Before deciding on the private school environment also check what opportunities your child will have to use the wonderful facilities. Very often the sports and music facilities will only be used when the child gets into secondary school and so your fee is also paying for something which your child has no access to. Make a point of finding out about the state schools in the area where you would like to live and ask the same questions. Even though the building might not look so beautiful you may find that they run amazing programs which would suit your child’s needs really well. Your child will also be making friends with children who are local to your home whereas private schools have children who are coming to school from a much wider area.

Australia has some amazing private schools which stand up against the world’s best but it also has some amazing state schools which also stand up to the world’s best. Bottom line: do your homework!