Air pollution is not just turning off visitors, it is also driving away foreign talent and making it harder for firms to persuade employees to relocate to China, say recruiters.
“They are not familiar with the place and the country, so the heavy pollution is an important factor for them to consider,” said a senior executive at recruitment firm Antal International Germany, in a report by the South China Morning Post.
“Air pollution is becoming a real issue among expats working with Audi and BMW. A senior lawyer has asked to be transferred out of the area very recently,” said Richard Adam, a managing partner at Antal International Germany. He regularly hires western talents to work in Asia.
He said that the difficulty of finding people to fill in positions in Chinese cities, on a scale of one to 10, was rated as six.
A whopping 60% of those negotiating the possibility of working in Beijing and other Chinese industrial cities mentioned air pollution or health issues as a one of their top concerns, according to Adam.
In January, the Beijing air pollution index measuring particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5) hit levels as high as 400 in some areas of the city. A level above 300 is considered hazardous, while the World Health Organisation recommends a daily level of no more than 25.
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