Asia's pollution exodus: Firms struggle to woo top talent
SEE ALSO :Malaysian golfer dies in hotel roomThese include paying for smog breaks every few months, or allowing non-traditional working arrangements so people can commute from less polluted areas, says Lee Quane, Asia director for consultancy ECA International. At "a location with a higher level of pollution, you're likely to see us recommend allowances of anywhere between 10 to 20 percent of the person's base salary," he says. This estimate, derived from a rating system his firm uses to help companies decide appropriate financial compensation for relocation, would also incorporate factors such as crime rates and access to services, he adds. Other provisions employees could expect for moving to a highly polluted area include better insulated apartments, air purifiers for home and office, breathing masks, and regular medical check-ups. "If you look at the cost associated with even those smaller things... you’re probably looking at a minimum cost, on an annual basis, of maybe US$5,000 to $10,000 a year," Quane said, with location allowances an additional expense.
SEE ALSO :Police investigate death of school girl"He literally would spend three weeks out of a month going back and forth from the hospital," Tiftik tells AFP. - Children at risk - India has one of the world's fastest growing economies, making it an appealing career option, but it is also home to seven of the most polluted cities, according to a recent report by Greenpeace and IQ Air Visual. "All senior executives want to have India experience on their CVs. There is however, a fear of pollution related health issues," says Atul Vohra, managing partner of Transearch, a global recruitment firm. Such concerns are not just an issue for expats, he says, adding that Indians are also turning down work in areas of the country with severe smog For many the rewards are simply not worth the risks. Behar-Courtois recently left Shanghai, which has seen its air quality deteriorate in the past few years, after his wife developed thyroid issues he believes are linked to the smog. "In the last three to five years, I've seen a lot of people, especially with kids, who basically chose to put an end to their career here and move," he reveals. He now works as a professor in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai, where the air is cleaner. Tiftik says his son's symptoms abruptly stopped after the family moved to Bangkok, which has air quality problems of its own, but are fall less severe than Beijing. He would consider leaving the continent altogether if pollution worsens, he says, even though his Mandarin skills give him an edge in the Asian market. He adds: "Although my career is very important, my family’s health is more important."
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