Talent War - Where to make $35,000 a month tax free

Ashley Regan
By Ashley Regan | 23 February 2023
Dubai. Fredrik Öhlander via Unsplash

International stints are a common career progression for the Australian advertising industry, but does the move always mean more money?

Nomatic marketer Jeremy Taylor-Riley says there are more financially rewarding opportunities for marketers overseas today than when he was in the peak of his international career.

He points to Saudi Arabia as the best location for those seeking big paychecks.

Taylor-Riley, from stints in Canada, the US and several countries in the Middle East, Asia and Europe to living with the royal family in Korea, has been a nomadic marketer since starting his career in 1984.

He told AdNews: “I got a reputation for being somebody that hits the ground running and doesn't shy away from any challenge which allows me to accept exciting opportunities around the world.

“For example with all of these moves it only took me three weeks to move to a new location each time - I'm low maintenance.

Although based in Sydney today as a consultant and managing partner at The Moonshot Agency, Taylor-Riley still does occasional international placements.

He offers his advice to aspiring Australian marketers who want to work internationally.

“At some point marketers have to make a decision as to whether they want to be full-time internationalists or stay at home,” Taylor-Riley said.

“Because God bless Australia, but there is a tendency for employers to be nervous of people with significant international experience.

“My advice to aspiring nomads is first join an agency that's an international network - WPP and Publicis are the two big ones.

“Secondly, get yourself a reputation for being the one that's prepared to jump in the deep end to take on the challenges that nobody else wants. 

“Obviously you have to network, but you also have to tell people what your aspirations are - don't leave it to your management to guess.”

With an expensive network developed over his almost 40 year career, Taylor-Riley told AdNews that for marketers who want to make money, Saudi Arabia is the best location.

Jeremy Taylor-Riley in Saudi Arabia

Jeremy Taylor-Riley in Saudi Arabia.

He also noted that Australians are certainly well respected by the international agencies operating in Asia and the Middle East - which conveniently is where all the opportunities are. 

“It's going to be tougher for a girl, but in Saudi there is so much money that creates a lot of marketing opportunities - with the humongous project called Neom in Saudi Arabia providing a lot of that," Taylor-Riley said.

“There are many, many jobs in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Saudi that are paying middle level marketers $35,000 Australian per month, tax free.

“However, it's only the big international agencies that have got the networks there that can embed somebody in Saudi.

“I've got a friend that works on the Neom project and he earns $50,000 Australian tax free per month.”

Majority of roles offered to nomadic marketers, like Taylor-Riley, are contract ones. Where an agency will hire an international expert to grow the expertise and strategic thinking of the locals quickly.

So that ultimately, one day those locals will be running the local agencies independently. 

“It's fabulous that there is that money there and if a person only wants to do two years, earn money and get out, that's fine - but everyone around you and all the locals that work with you will smell you out a mile away,” Taylor-Riley said.

“But to be successful I believe that you've got to be culturally curious and embed yourself into the culture.

“Experience the religion, live with locals and partake in local activities.”

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