Sydney's work-life balance suits the BBC's John Williams

John Williams is account director, advertising sales, BBC Worldwide channels Asia Pacific. He moved to Sydney two and a half years ago from London.

John Williams, account director, advertising sales, BBC Worldwide
John Williams, account director, advertising sales, BBC Worldwide

Sydney: Having grown up in Hong Kong, Australia was familiar to me. I volunteered to relocate and head sales for BBC World News and BBC.com.

Working environment: It's small and vibrant, with plenty of expats. Australia punches about its weight in media terms. Channels 7, 9 and 10 are commercial, and what happens to them is of public interest. Media people work hard, but they have a healthy work-life balance; they start at 8.30am, but you can't get anyone after 4.30pm on Fridays.

Clients: Budgets are smaller and that tends to make clients more conservative. From the media owner point of view, it's harder to get on clients' schedules, as they're less likely to take a punt and prefer to stick with known partners.

Media agencies: All the major agencies operate here, but there is a digital skills shortage. Lots of young Australians go on what they call the big "OE" (overseas experience), usually to Europe, which leaves a skills gap. There seems to be lots of movement within agencies.

Digital: There's no denying that Australia is behind the UK and US, but it's catching up fast. Clients look for return on investment and accountability, so spend on digital media now outperforms print. For now, the focus is still very much on TV and most agencies aspire to the 30-second spot on terrestrial television.

Culture: People here think the recession won't hit them as hard as in the West, as Australia still exports huge amounts of raw materials to China. It's quite isolated from Asia, both culturally and in media terms, and what's going on in Singapore doesn't affect us. However, one thing I miss is a decent pub serving decent beer.

One thing we can learn from Sydney: Aussies get up early (usually having gone for a workout, run or swim) and work hard, but they don't take work home with them.

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