Environment issues rising on the list of employees' worries

Updated: 2014-03-03 15:07

By Shi Jing in Shanghai (China Daily USA)

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Seeking a healthier environment, next to pursuing promotion and finding a work-life balance, has become the third-most important reason for Chinese professionals to change jobs, according to the 2014 Talent Trends Briefing for China released by the international executive recruitment firm MRIC Group.

About 56 percent of the 5,000 polled respondents in China said a healthier environment is one of the four most important reasons to change their work locations.

For the 269 respondents in Beijing, the importance of a healthier environment has outweighed anything else to become the top reason for relocation, the report said.

Beijing is now less appealing to candidates. About 47.3 percent of the respondents in the city said they would like to relocate in 2014, the same figure as last year. The most preferred destinations are North America, Shanghai, Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand.

As to the most preferred destination for relocation, Shanghai is the most popular among all Chinese mainland cities while Beijing was dislodged by Suzhou in East China's Jiangsu province, dropping to third place this year.

Huang Wanting, a mother of a 1-year-old daughter, is planning to relocate to Shanghai before summer this year even though she is a freelance video editor who does not need to commute every day.

"I have lived in Beijing for about 10 years, but the air conditions are deteriorating. I can see that the government is making a great effort to put everything back to normal, but that will really take some time. I cannot let my child to stay indoors for a month or so," she said.

Angie Eagan, managing director of MRIC Group China, said: "A growing trend we have witnessed recently is that employees throughout the region are becoming more risk-averse given a more uncertain economic environment. This has caused employers in China, who are fighting the 'war for talent,' to use more aggressive methods to retain good staff. Money remains a key driver in keeping or attracting talented people, but that alone is not enough."

"Senior managers are now strongly resisting full family relocations to Beijing. Instead, they are trying to negotiate a situation in which they fly in and fly out and their families don't live in Beijing," said Eagan.

Eagan also added that it is not only air pollution that is motivating professionals to leave Beijing. Other complaints include the high cost of living - especially housing and children's education, traffic jams, and concerns over food safety.


(China Daily USA 03/03/2014 page16)