7 Things I’ve Learned from my Year Working in NYC

Today marks the first year of GCS opening our first office in the USA and it has been an amazing and successful journey. I have learnt an incredible amount since starting the process of setting up an office in a different country, so I thought I'd share 7 things I have learned in my first year. 

As a Techie, if money is your motivator, come and work in NYC.

If your passion is technology, NY is the place to be. The salaries here are incomparable to the UK – ‘most’ technology jobs pay 2 – 3 times more than their British counterparts. I believe the cost of living to be the same as London (possibly slightly higher) but the difference in salaries is astronomical.

It’s a classic supply/demand situation. There are more companies looking to grow in New York, so demand is higher and there is less talent on offer. Due to its location within Europe there is a lot more overseas talent working in London than in New York City. The cliché for coming to New York to “make it here” is true here – Senior JavaScript Engineers can expect around £60k in London, but, depending on company and industry, $150k+ in New York City.

While this is a big leap for experienced candidates, the real surprise comes with junior positions– earning circa $80 – 90k for some roles, with only 1-2 years’ experience whereas the same role in London wouldn’t fetch more than £30k.

Air Con On The Subway Is Brilliantly Obvious

Investment in the London underground seems to be the stations – high-tech, clean and modern, which put ours to shame. However, the same cannot be said for the actual journey. I don’t know how many of you have had the pleasure of travelling on the London Underground, but as a reference point there was a smash-hit 2 minute song in 2005 dedicated to revealing the dread of the tube commuter (don’t check it out if you’re easily offended!)

All subway lines in NY have air con – and it’s fantastic. For any Londoners reading this, I empathize – imagine a commute where you’re not stuck in a sweat box carriage getting intimate with your neighbor's armpit!

Multiple Interviews Per Role

The interview stage process here is comparatively hectic, full-time or contract. Even permanent roles in London don’t have as many stages as the majority of contract roles here.

The screening process here is much more thorough, which can be to the detriment of the company as candidates can find roles elsewhere in the meantime with companies who are more efficient and in-depth with their screening process.

In the UK it’s all hands on deck once we get a candidate in as the process moves much quicker and there is a huge demand for quick results. Yet for instance in New York, recently we had a candidate complete a four stage process over two weeks including a 5 hour face to face coding interview, but ended up getting declined because of non-essential reason, despite the time spent by both company and interviewee.

Food that is different, hard to find or just not here

Proper Bacon. Custard Creams. A full Pint. Robinsons Orange Squash. Ribena. Cadburys Chocolate. Hovis Bread. Shreddies.

Its 28 degrees in the mornings during summer

The climate here is just…better. England’s cliché is somewhat true - mostly dark, dreary and often raining, making mornings far from a pleasure. In NY even though it gets colder in winter, blue sky seems to be more prominent for the rest of the year, and it’s often, by all accounts, hot!

The demand is staggering - candidate driven market

Companies in the UK seem content with losing out on the best candidate for the job because they are not through an approved supplier or agency on their PSL. In NY if you put the right candidate in front of a company it is much easier to enter into a dialogue with them, and they are more open to working with you based on what you have shown.

9 out of 10 companies in NY seem to be actively seeking talent – so if you find an exceptional candidate you’re going to place them. On the flip-side, he might have a ton of other interviews and offers. Candidates here definitely know their worth and the majority of the time they are open about their other offers and interviews.

Deli Sandwiches Rule!

Nothing compares to NY deli sandwiches – you can get a giant ‘hero’ for $7 – and there’s one available on every corner. As an Englishman, the sheer scope and size of what’s on offer is almost overwhelming (almost!) In the UK we have a mini supermarket “Tesco’s” on every corner – here, it’s all about the freshly made deli sandwiches. Having said that, if you fancy a pork pie or £1 ham and mustard sandwich, you’ve got no chance, it’s only go big or go home!

It's been a brilliant year and we're all looking forward to making year 2 even more successful. For more information about our New York operation, jobs, internal hiring or where to find English delicacies, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me via email at thomas.lovell-butt@gcsltd.com 

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