September 4, 2023
Dualta Doherty

The American Dream for UK Recruiters: Insights from Sam Jones Harnham’s Senior VP & Partner

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With its diverse range of industries, from technology and healthcare to finance and manufacturing, the US offers a wide array of opportunities for UK recruiters to broaden their professional horizons.  

But what does it truly mean to transition from the UK's recruitment market to America's? How do the salary structures compare and what nuances in work culture should one be prepared for? To delve into these questions, we turned to Sam Jones, Senior VP & Partner @ Harnham, who has an extensive on-the-ground experience in three key American cities: New York, San Francisco, and Phoenix.

Prime Locations: Where to Relocate?

Sam's agency has offices in New York, San Francisco, and Phoenix. When asked why these locations were chosen, Sam cites a "5 times higher average fee, a huge number of Fortune 500 companies, and a massive candidate shortage" as the primary reasons.

The Market Landscape: How Does it Compare to the UK?

Sam describes the US Recruitment market as "less transactional and more relationship-driven," emphasising the importance of building a network. He also delves into the sectors that are booming, including "Data - machine learning, AI, Engineering, advanced manufacturing."

Understanding the Recruitment Salary Structure in the US

When it comes to remuneration, the United States proves to be quite lucrative. "Base salary is roughly 2X that of the UK," says Sam. He adds that the On-Target Earnings (OTE) for a Senior Recruitment Consultant is around "$150,000 to $200,000."

Career Progression

"Endless" is the word Sam uses to describe career opportunities. He mentions that at  Harnham, consultants have risen from "rookie to billing manager in 18 months," showcasing the rapid career growth potential.

The Talent Pool in the US

Interestingly, Sam finds the talent pool in the US and the UK to be similar, stating that both markets are "candidate short and have lots of hiring going on."

Office Culture

The culture within Sam's agency is a "classic work hard play hard" setup, especially in New York City where "everyone is ambitious."

Social Life and Leisure: What's There to Do?

According to Sam, New York City is teeming with expats and new people looking to connect. There are plenty of socials, sports events, and "amazing food everywhere" to keep you entertained.

Practical Considerations

For UK recruiters considering the move, Sam suggests that having a 360 recruitment experience is preferred, but many 180 recruiters also find success. When it comes to visas, the E2 visa is commonly used, and it takes about 4 months for approval.

Final Thoughts

"If you decide to go for it, go all in and make it happen. Don't look back!" That's the advice Sam has for anyone contemplating the move.

And there you have it—an inside look at what life is like for a UK recruiter in New York, San Francisco, and Phoenix. It's clear that the opportunities are vast, and the rewards are high, making the American Dream a reality for those who dare to chase it.

If you're keen to explore further into the realm of recruitment in the United States, don't miss our conversation with Stephen Carr and Tristan Baron-Gracie, UK recruiters who have carved out a successful career in Los Angeles. They offer invaluable insights that could guide your own journey.

Want to know where you stand in the market and what recruitment opportunities abroad we're working on with our clients worldwide?  

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